On Valentines day earlier this year Poppy Challacombe and her family received a devastating diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. Within two hours Poppy and her mother Casey were on a flight from Glen Innes 450kms away to the nearest children’s oncologist in Newcastle.
Poppy has a good prognosis and a fantastic team on her side to get her through this. She has had multiple blood transfusions, a few minor surgeries and numerous daily medications. She has just finished the first intensive phase of chemotherapy and the results will determine the severity of the treatment to come.
Poppy and her family are living between John Hunter Children’s Hospital and Ronald Macdonald House in Newcastle. They are expected to be away from home for six to eight months and when they can finally leave the hospital, Poppy will have to take oral chemo and make monthly trips back to Newcastle for a further two and a half years.
Poppy and her family had just spent a fantastic weekend at the Glen Innes show when Poppy woke up during the night with severe pain. Casey and Murray were also worried about the many bruises that had shown up all over Poppy’s body in the last week, many more than a normal 6 year old should have. The next day Poppy couldn’t walk.
The family took her to see their local GP. Dr Correy sent the family straight up to Glen Innes Hospital and booked Poppy in for a series of tests the next day. By that afternoon they were given the shocking diagnosis and swept up in a whirlwind trip to get Poppy immediate treatment.
Poppy and her mum jumped on a medical flight with very little time to pack and no understanding of how long they’d be away. Murray had to quit his job as a chef to look after Percy and rather than split his family up, drove through the night to get to the hospital in Newcastle.
Poppy started chemotherapy on February 16 and has been responding well to treatment.
This little family have been having a really rough time the last three years. They had to shut their restaurant and only a couple of months later Murray’s parents were killed in a car accident. They had to sell the family farm and moved to Glen Innes for a fresh start.
Poppy’s mum Casey has been really sick for months with gall bladder infections. She finally had surgery at the end of January, only two weeks before Poppy’s diagnosis.
This family have been doing it tough, with one hit after another. Murray also battled cancer in his youth with multiple rounds of chemotherapy for Lymphoma. They just can’t believe it’s happened again.
When Murray’s parents died they lost their support system and their home. Murray worked hard to support his family but with Poppy and Casey headed to Newcastle he had no choice but to quit working nights and look after 4 year old Percy. The family are all together in Newcastle and would like to stay together to support Poppy in her cancer battle.
How We Can Help
Poppy and her family are doing everything they can to help Poppy’s treatment but doctors and medicines aren’t the only pressures they are facing.
While they are away Murray and Casey aren’t working. Bills still need to be paid, fuel for the car as well as food and other necessities. The couple have filed for Centrelink but we all know that barely covers the bills let alone travel backwards and forwards to Glen Innes.
Chemotherapy costs money too. Some days Poppy is taking up to seven medications from steroids to nausea drugs and tablets to protect her stomach, lungs and mouth. This all costs money and the family are struggling.
If we as a community can each put in a small donation we can help relieve the financial burden and keep this family together and not worrying about the costs of travelling to and fro. They have enough to worry about without scrounging for fuel or bill collectors calling.
All the money will go towards supporting Poppy. Please donate what you can and share their story. A little money from each of us will add up quickly and mean an awful lot to this family in need.
- Peter Austin
- Tamara McDonald
- hulya yorur
- Laura N
New South Wales