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Abigail rings in a bright future

Published:  23 May 2020

After spending almost half of her life undergoing chemotherapy, prep student Abigail Christie today rang the bell in the Townsville University Hospital’s paediatric oncology unit, signifying the end of her cancer treatment and the start of a bright future.

Abigail, who turns five later this year, spent two years and two months receiving chemotherapy treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia following a devastating diagnosis at just two-and-a-half years old.

“After about six months of Abigail contracting virus after virus and frequent visits to the GP we finally got the diagnosis we didn’t want, but were suspecting,” Abigail’s mum, Brooke said. 

“Abigail was rushed to the Townsville PICU where she stayed overnight for a blood transfusion and by 7:30pm the next night we were in Brisbane.

“We had no sleep and did way too much internet research in those first 24 hours.”

With mum Brooke, dad Jye and big sister Jasmine (6) by her side, Abigail spent the next two months receiving intense chemotherapy in Brisbane before returning home to Townsville to continue her treatment.

Brooke said though the past two years had been difficult for the family, Abigail was a fighter.

“Abigail has been just amazing; if the same thing had happened to me there’s no way I would have handled it so well. She has been smashing it,” Brooke said.

“It was a battle at the beginning with the procedures but now it’s become second nature.

“It probably helps that she’s incredibly stubborn; when Abigail sets her mind to something there is absolutely no getting in her way.”

Brooke said having Abigail finally ring the paediatric oncology bell filled her with a sense of relief.

“I’m on a Facebook support group for parents who have children with a myriad of different cancers and it reminds me just how lucky we have been on our journey and how relatively cruisy it has been for us,” Brooke said

Brooke said she was grateful to all the staff at the Townsville University Hospital paediatric oncology unit for the support they had given the family.

“Abigail’s first lot of chemo in Brisbane was actually administered by paediatric oncology nurse Cathy Henry on her last day before she moved up to Townsville, so for Abigail to get back to Townsville and have Cathy continue her care was amazing; Cathy goes above and beyond to get us anything we need and is a great advocate,” Brooke said.

“We want to give a great big thank you medical, nursing and allied staff in the paediatric oncology unit who have been with us throughout this journey; without them I don’t think we would have stayed as sane as we did.

“We also want to give our thanks to the Vietnam Veterans and Veterans Motorcycle Club who have been so supportive of us.

“From the moment we got the diagnosis they have been fundraising for the Leukaemia Foundation and supporting us through the whole thing; they have been amazing.”

Abigail continues to go from strength to strength, taking on her first year of school this year and enjoying every moment.

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