One-minute phone call changed everything
LEIGH Muller will never forget the phone call from the doctor explaining that her three-year daughter had cancer.
"The conversation lasted about a minute," she said.
"My husband and I had brought our daughter, Bridget, in for a blood test after she developed a stubborn cough.
"Initially doctors thought it was asthma, but the test revealed a low white blood cell count which spelled leukaemia.
"In less than 24-hours my little girl was in the Royal Children's Hospital with a central line put through her chest to administer chemotherapy."
The Boonah mother of two said life had been a rollercoaster for the family since that devastating phone call last June.
She said Bridget had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia - an aggressive condition that required equally aggressive treatment.
"It's a disease that is apparently extremely rare in children," she said.
"I was told something like only 10 Australian kids are affected by it each year."
She said her daughter had been through four rounds of chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant and spent months in isolation to ward off infections.
"Bridget's been a real trooper throughout the whole situation," Mrs Muller said.
"She's been really sick at times and has had to miss doing the things she loves likes swimming, dancing or going to the football with her daddy.
"But she's always stayed bubbly and kept a smile on her face throughout the treatment."
Doctors recently declared Bridget, now four, in remission, but Mrs Muller said the family wasn't celebrating just yet.
"There was a young girl in the same ward as Bridget who also had been diagnosed with leukaemia," she said.
"Both girls formed a really close bond."
"Unfortunately though, after the girl was pronounced in remission and released from hospital, she relapsed a week later and died."
Mrs Muller shared her daughter's story of braveness and resilience at a special dinner event last Tuesday.
Her audience included 42 cyclists who on Friday completed a 1000km ride in seven days to raise funds for seriously ill children and children with special needs.
Mrs Muller said she wanted to give the cyclists an example of the difference their fundraising efforts helped make in the lives of young children and their families.
- Every year in Australia more than 600 children are diagnosed with cancer.
- On average, three Australian children die from cancer every week.
- Today, in Australia, survival rates are about 75% across all types of childhood cancer.
- The most common childhood cancers are acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, brain cancer and neuroblastoma.