A normal day playing with friends at the beach ended with a life-changing diagnosis for one Queensland family.
Scout Pedersen was just three years old when she was diagnosed on December 3 with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, her mum, Noelle Pedersen, told Yahoo News Australia.
She had shown no signs of being ill and was as active as ever, even attending a gymnastics session and a play date at the beach just hours before doctors rushed her to the hospital.
Mrs Pedersen said she had noticed more bruising than usual on Scout’s body and although initially chalking it up to children roughhousing, the mum of three decided to swing by their family doctor’s office.
The 44-year-old said the GP told her he “didn’t want to alarm her”, but she needed to go to the emergency room right away.
There they performed a blood test and immediately diagnosed the three-year-old with leukaemia.
Mrs Pedersen said she and the doctor sobbed after the news was broken.
“I can’t state enough how devastating an impact it is on the family when you first get a diagnosis and are in shock and bewildered,” Mrs Pedersen said.
“It was amazing with the amount of leukaemia in her system that she wasn’t feeling incredibly sick.”
Scout was then rushed to Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane to undergo emergency surgery so doctors could determine what kind of leukaemia she had and perform a bone marrow biopsy.
The now four-year-old also began an intensive year-long bout of treatment including chemotherapy.
She has been in and out of the hospital, and at one point caught an infection that was resistant to antibiotics.
“We almost lost her. She was in a coma and spent a week in the ICU (intensive care unit),” Mrs Pedersen said.
“Luckily they found the right antibiotic and she recovered, but she lost all of her top teeth.”
Mrs Pedersen said although it was just cosmetic, the physical loss was just another reminder of all that her daughter had been through.
Scout is now at home for a while and will later begin another round of treatment with a milder dose of chemotherapy with the hope she can soon see friends and attend kindergarten.
Redkite: Providing necessities for devastated families
During her interview with Yahoo News Australia, Mrs Pedersen spoke of the help and kindness she received from Redkite, an Australian charity that provides help to families whose children have been diagnosed with cancer.
Mrs Pedersen said everything turned into a blur after her initial visit to the doctor and described the diagnosis as being “thrown into a world you don’t understand and everything is happening so fast”.
She said she remembered after arriving at the children’s hospital being handed a Redkite bag filled with necessities, toiletries, a teddy bear, and information about counsellors and what they should expect to happen next.
“We were just crying all the time and in the same clothes for days,” she said.
“The bag meant a lot to me. It was nice to have a little bit of comfort and it felt like someone was thinking of you.”
Redkite launched its first major national fundraising campaign this week after suffering a significant drop in funds and an increasing demand.
Unable to host fundraising events because of coronavirus, the charity has had to look into other avenues to try and help families in need.
As of Wednesday, Redkite kicked off its “$24for24” online fundraiser across the country.
“When a child gets diagnosed with cancer it’s difficult for families to think about the future. Families don’t know what the next 24 hours will bring,” their website reads. To donate, click here.
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