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The Evans’ blood cancer story spans fifteen years

And your support has been so important

Sometimes there is a special story that makes you realise just how life-changing your support is. This is that story.

Fifteen years ago, Sandra felt her world unravel when her four-year-old daughter Tahlia was diagnosed with blood cancer. But as her family faced huge uncertainty, a powerful force of strength came into their lives.

The unwavering care of Leukaemia Foundation supporters wrapped them in a protective cocoon, from the point of diagnosis and through the treatment that followed. And today your support continues to nurture Tahlia, as she evolves in her blood cancer survivorship.

This is the powerful, life-long difference that you’re making.

Sandra’s story

“The diagnosis was devastating. In the first few days everything is so surreal; you are very vulnerable and fearful.”
– Sandra, Tahlia’s mum

When Tahlia seemed tired and ‘out of sorts’, Sandra didn’t think much of it. But Royal Children’s Hospital called with shocking news. “Her body and her marrow and her bones are packed with leukaemia cells. You need to come to Brisbane now.”

Answering the call for help

As Tahlia began urgent treatment, Sandra wondered how she could possibly do what the doctors had asked – relocate her family minutes from hospital.

The generosity of wonderful supporters like you gave her the answer; a Leukaemia Foundation home-away-from-home.

“I can’t explain what a difference this offer of accommodation was to our family. We didn’t know what else to do or who to turn to.”

Support in many ways

The lifeline of accommodation and other financial help was just the beginning of Leukaemia Foundation care. As Sandra faced wave after wave of challenges, the support of people like you meant Blood Cancer Support Coordinator, Maryanne, was there at every step.

“Having a child with cancer is an arduous journey. Maryanne helped normalise the experience and acknowledged as a parent I had intense emotions and that was ok.”

And thanks to your generosity, this support is ongoing today.

“It is so reassuring to know that over the years, each time I’ve needed the Leukaemia Foundation for support to deal with new late side effects of Tahlia’s treatment, Maryanne has such a great understanding of our family.”

Thank you

Fifteen years of unwavering support for Sandra’s family, it’s an incredible example of just how life-changing and special your care is.

“The support that your donations provide families like us – the impact is immeasurable. The gratitude I have toward supporters like you is profound. Thank you never seems quite enough.”

“She was cheeky, full of energy and a joy to be around.” – Sandra remembering Tahlia as a four-year-old, pictured above with her younger sister Lauren

Lauren, Sandra and Tahlia today

Tahlia’s story

“Life with blood cancer and after cancer is tumultuous and filled with ups and downs, but the support of the Leukaemia Foundation makes each step in this difficult journey easier.”
– Tahlia, 20, blood cancer survivor

Although Tahlia (pictured recently with her mother, Sandra) doesn’t remember much about her blood cancer diagnosis, she’s still feeling its impact as a young adult today. Unfortunately, Tahlia’s intense chemotherapy treatment as a child has led to new medical conditions.

New challenges

“I’ve developed Avascular Necrosis in my ankle, which is where bone tissue dies due to a lack of blood supply. I’ve had to have resulting surgery and ongoing chronic pain management,” explains Tahlia.

“Another two drugs I was treated with have side effects that impact fertility in childhood cancer survivors.”

Tahlia shortly after her diagnosis

Outdoors, on a grassy hill, a woman and her daughter smile at the camera
Sandra and Tahlia today

A new chapter of support

As Tahlia navigates life as a long-term survivor, your support has been there for her and her family once again. It’s meant she has been able to re-connect with her Blood Cancer Support Coordinator, Maryanne.

“We have a special relationship because she always makes an effort to ask, to listen, to care and to help after every discussion we have. She remains in contact with me about university, my health, appointments that are coming up.”

Huge gratitude

Tahlia’s experience speaks to the long-term impact of blood cancer, long past a diagnosis. But thanks to people like you caring deeply, Tahlia and many others like her are empowered with long-term, personalised support. “I am alive and my family is intact. The support we have been given not just throughout my treatment, but a decade after, is testimony to how involved and reliable the Leukaemia Foundation has always been.”

“As sincerely as I can say it to all past and present supporters, thank you. My mother and I have nothing but gratitude for you and this incredible organisation.”

Sandra’s advice to parents

“Young children tend not to recall their treatment experience with the same details as their parents. As parents, we carry much of the worry – so remember that you might need to allow yourself time to process the trauma.”

Tahlia’s advice for others facing blood cancer

“Support systems are extremely important. Try to spread it out between a range of friends, family and organisations, rather than relying on one or two people only. Having the Leukaemia Foundation as part of our support system feels like our family always has someone to rely on, like our guardian angels.”

Hear more from Sandra and Tahlia

Listen to Sandra and Tahlia tell their story on the Leukaemia Foundation’s podcast series, Talking Blood Cancer.

A family - mum, dad, and two young adult daughters - walk through a park
The Evans family – Randall, Lauren, Tahlia and Sandra – today

Last updated on February 7th, 2023

Developed by the Leukaemia Foundation in consultation with people living with a blood cancer, Leukaemia Foundation support staff, haematology nursing staff and/or Australian clinical haematologists. This content is provided for information purposes only and we urge you to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis, treatment and answers to your medical questions, including the suitability of a particular therapy, service, product or treatment in your circumstances. The Leukaemia Foundation shall not bear any liability for any person relying on the materials contained on this website.