It becomes a little community, and it is a light in a dark time.
The Ross family lived a busy life in Highfields, Toowoomba. Karlie and Mason Ross had two young children and balanced their work with raising their family. On Christmas Eve of 2020, their two-year-old daughter, Eleanor (Ellie) developed a fever. They could never have realised the diagnosis that would come from this.
Ellie was a normal toddler, she was charismatic, caring and absolutely adored her older brother and the colour pink. She was just shy of her second birthday and had no signs that she was unwell.
Over the next few weeks, Ellie started to develop more symptoms and Karlie took her to several different doctors to seek alternate opinions. On 27th January, Ellie was given a blood test and just a few hours later, Karlie was being rushed to a local emergency before being put in an ambulance to the Queensland Children’s Hospital. Later that night, Karlie was told that Ellie had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.
Diagnosis is such a confusing time because everyone is using words that are unfamiliar and new. At the time, I might have known what an oncologist was, but I had no idea what they did or their role in my daughter’s life. Thoughts of confusion colliding with shock, grief, and sheer terror are the main thoughts experienced in the first 24 hours of diagnosis.
Ellie started chemotherapy immediately. The Ross family didn’t know how long the treatment was or how long they would need to be in Brisbane. Soon after, Karlie and Ellie moved into Childhood Cancer Support’s accommodation. Being self-employed, Mason was unable to leave Toowoomba, and Karlie had to stay in Brisbane.
People often tell me that they had no idea the intensity or duration of Leukaemia treatment. Sadly, Ellie has experienced a very challenging treatment. My family lives in a bubble to keep her safe and we are unable to participate in most normal things; not even family Christmas. Our life is constantly disrupted, our plans are non-existent so that we can’t be disappointed, and we live out of suitcases.
It is fatiguing – emotionally, physically, and financially – and it does not stop.
Childhood Cancer Support’s accommodation allowed Mason and Ellie’s brother to come for visits on the weekend and keep the family together during this unimaginably difficult time.
The unit was truly a home away from home and felt like ours. Today, we continue to access the short-term accommodation as we travel for two day stays in Brisbane for appointments. The short-term accommodation has been a huge blessing to our family.
Without the support of Childhood Cancer Support, the Ross family would have had to find private rental accommodation in Brisbane and the financial impact would have devastated the family.
Childhood Cancer Support removes the burden of accommodation, therefore helping families like ours focus on getting our daughter better.