Arianna’s story

In April 2019, in the emergency room of Bundaberg Hospital, at 11pm Arianna’s parents received the devastating news their daughter had leukaemia.

Bonnie, Arianna’s mum had taken her to hospital believing she was overreacting after Arianna became very tired, developed a fever, and had several small bruises and some red pinprick spots on her back.

“When the doctor said, “We think it’s Leukemia” I kind of thought, ok so what do we do to fix that. Then my husband said, “But that’s Cancer”, then your mind naturally goes to all different places. And you’re completely lost at that point.” said Bonnie.

Treatment started immediately, with numerous drugs, tests, scans, a lumber puncture, and a bone marrow aspiration.

“We waited to have her squeezed into surgery to have her port-a-cath inserted so we could proceed with chemotherapy treatment but being the weekend, it was looking unlikely to happen until the following week. Thankfully the emergency department surgery team squeezed Arianna in, we will never forget what the lead surgeon said – cancer doesn’t know it’s the weekend.” Bonnie said.

Arianna’s fighting spirit was apparent from day one, and she never let things get on top of her, even during the really bad days.  “As a three-year-old, she had no concept as to what was happening to her and we found it best to explain to Ari that somehow her blood is sick, we don’t know how it got sick, but we had to get it better here at the hospital before we could go back home. She understood that really well.” said Bonnie.

For the family to stay together and prepare for the arrival of their third child, Bonnie and Elliott made the decision to relocate the family to Brisbane from Gin Gin.  Once everything back home was organised, family life was based on a routine of administering medications, weekly appointments, and blood tests. Arianna and her brother Oren spent a lot of time in hospital and got to know many of the ‘Green Team’.

“For Ari, the music therapy was great to help us get through her trauma of her port access/de-access. She responded very well to it and it calmed her. Bedside play was a godsend when we were in-patients. She always wanted to play, so when the volunteers came in it gave me or my husband a chance to just take a timeout. The events at the hospital and Kidzone was very much enjoyed by our son Oren. He was a regular at Kidzone when Ari was admitted or having appointments or blood tests. When Ari was well enough and her counts were good, we tried to take her to Kidzone as often as we could, as she always felt she missed out when she heard all the things Oren got up to. All the staff and volunteers at the hospital went above and beyond, we really felt we had the greatest support possible.” said Bonnie.

Arianna is currently in the maintenance phase of treatment so able to have her chemotherapy at home and appointments at her local hospital.  She is delighted to be back home with all her friends and family, (especially her new baby sister Milli) and all her own things.  She is going to Kindy two days a week and her curly blond locks are now long enough for pig-tails, which puts a smile on her face.

Now four, Arianna will always be the dress up queen who loves to dance and no amount of IV lines or sick blood is going to stop her.

Other ways you can help

Everything we do for sick and injured kids is made possible by the generosity and support of our donors, partners and the community.