The Maher family live in the beautiful, close-knit community of Alstonville, in northern New South Wales. Stephen, Hiep and Liam loved to catch up with friends, visit the beach and spend their Friday evenings getting take away fish and chips as a special family treat. Their life was filled with fun, laughter and joy.
On Mother’s Day last year, Liam became unwell. After being rushed to the local emergency, undergoing numerous tests and then, transferred to the Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, Liam was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. Liam was just two years old.
“My heart sank, and my head just went blank, I didn’t know what to think. Stephen and I just looked at each other and all I could do was just hold Liam tight in my arms,” Hiep said.
Hiep & Stephen were told he would need six cycles of chemotherapy and they would need to stay in Brisbane for 6 months. The Maher family stayed in the Childhood Cancer Support accommodation while Liam received life-saving cancer treatment.
“It was overwhelming when Liam received the diagnosis so suddenly. We did not know that we had to stay for more than six months. We did not know that the hospital only allowed one carer to stay overnight. I had to stop working immediately. Stephen had to travel back and forth nearly 200km each way for work almost every weekend.”
After leaving home with an overnight bag, the Maher family stayed with Childhood Cancer Support for two hundred and twenty days while Liam received treatment.
“It just blew our minds away that they provided us accommodation and everything we needed immediately. We were so relieved, and it just allowed us to feel like we could breathe again and deal with the journey ahead.”
While staying with Childhood Cancer Support, the Maher’s were provided with free long-term accommodation, but also transport services, activities for the kids, groceries, counselling, and a community of other families who understood their shared narrative.
“Without Childhood Cancer Support our life would be shredded. They not only provided free accommodation and transport, but also gave us mental health support during that difficult time. They treated us like a family member; they are full of compassion and understanding.
We were very lucky that Childhood Cancer Support took us in and gave us a safe place to call home; it enabled us to look after our sick child while we were far away from home.
Childhood Cancer Support provides so many essential services; services that you don’t know you need until you are faced with another problem that you couldn’t have foreseen. This allowed us to give our entire minds over to our son’s medical treatment and his well-being. We will forever treasure their thoughtfulness and generosity.
“Your donation and support is helping to continue to provide all the essential services to the parents who desperately need help to take care of their sick children.”
Childhood Cancer Support’s extraordinary support helped us through this harrowing journey. I would definitely encourage you to please donate to Childhood Cancer Support so that they can continue this vital work for others, Hiep said.