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Leukaemia: It left our family in pieces

Kiaan and his family in the hospital
Kiaan (far left) was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia

“It was one of the hardest moments of our lives. We will never forget the way he looked at us, it was as if he was asking us ‘why are you doing this to me?’

On the day Nidhi and her husband Raj were set to celebrate the birth of their son, their three-year-old, Kiaan was diagnosed with blood cancer.

Their whole world instantly plummeted into darkness as they were told their beautiful brown-eyed boy had an aggressive blood cancer called acute myeloid leukaemia.

“Through the sadness and grief we didn’t know how to respond. The walls shattered.”

“You never think the worst will come true,” said Nidhi. “It is very hard to receive that shocking news. You don’t want to accept it.”

“Kiaan’s platelet count was so low that if he had fallen over at daycare and hit his head, he would have died.”

Kiaan in hospital
Kiaan in the hospital

“As a parent it is your worst fear to have your child diagnosed with cancer. We cried and we asked why? We talked about it and how we could fight it. We weren’t going to let blood cancer beat us, but we needed help.”

Kiaan and Raj were flown from their home in Canberra to Sydney Children’s Hospital where Kiaan immediately started chemotherapy. Nidhi stayed in Canberra where she gave birth to Rohan.

Leukaemia Foundation support

“Soon after Kiaan was diagnosed, we were introduced to Sally who is a Leukaemia Foundation Blood Cancer Support Coordinator. She was the reason we were able to keep going.

“She gave us important information about leukaemia, she explained the Centrelink process and the Leukaemia Foundation provided us with free accommodation while Kiaan was in hospital. We live 300km from the nearest treating hospital and we needed somewhere to stay. The Leukaemia Foundation made a huge difference to our lives.”

There are few people who understand what it is like to have a child facing a potentially life-threatening disease. The range of emotions that come with a cancer diagnosis as a parent are enormous.

There are hundreds of families going through the same heartbreak as Raj, Nidhi, Kiaan and Rohan. Sadly, many more children will be diagnosed in the future and their parents will have to endure the roller coaster of emotions.

There are many different pieces of support that families living with a blood cancer need. You can give families devastated by a blood cancer diagnosis, a person to talk to, a place to call home, and information which will guide them through complex treatment options.