‘Being told your child has cancer is like being hit with a wrecking ball’

Good Friday marks the start of a long weekend with family and friends for many across Australia, but for kids like Abi, it’s another day in hospital. Today, Babyology is recognising the incredible work of The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, by throwing our support behind the Good Friday Appeal.

For the past six months, Lisa Morfitt and her partner Matt have been living a nightmare that began when three-year-old Abiagael was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.

“Being told your child has cancer is like being hit with a wrecking ball – you fall down, then you get up despite the trauma caused by the news, and you brush yourself off and get on with it,” she tells Babyology.

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Living in regional Victoria means Lisa and Matt split their time between watching over Abi in hospital, and being with their son Ben, 5. It’s put a huge strain on the family, but Lisa says it’s nothing compared to what Abi has to endure.

“Abi is one of the bravest little girls I have ever known. Each time, she cries and tells me she doesn’t want anymore medicine because it hurts her tummy and legs. To have to give your child medicine to make them better yet makes them sick is extremely tough,” Lisa says.

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Like many of us, over the years Abi’s family has supported the Good Friday Appeal, which raises money for The Royal Children’s Hospital, never knowing one day they would need its services.

“It makes me feel very sad seeing so many having to go through all this and recognising the strain of stress and worry on each parents face as I see on my own,” Lisa says.

“The Royal Children’s Hospital is amazing and they do as much as they can to make our time there comfortable, cared for and the kids entertained via the Starlight Foundation.”

The Good Friday Appeal has raised more than $291 million over its 85 years, which has been used for research, equipment and education. Appeal director Anne Randall tells Babyology the funding has given Australian children access to world-leading treatment.

“Whether it’s treatment which allows patients to go home sooner through the introduction of state-of-the art equipment or improvement in hospital systems, these community funded initiatives reinforce the hospital’s reputation as a world leader in paediatric care. It is indeed one of the world’s great hospitals,” Ann says.

Lisa is urging every parent to chip in a few dollars, to help continue the hospital’s amazing work.

“We are a family that likes to give and this year it will mean so much more because of how well they have looked after Abi. Everyone needs to dig deep or go without that extra coffee, and donate. Childhood illness does not discriminate, it can happen to someone you know or love and as much as I hope it doesn’t happen, but if it does, RCH will be there and we need to support the hospital.”

To donate, head to the Good Friday Appeal. Abi’s family is also running a Go Fund Me campaign, to help with some of the costs associated with their daughter’s illness.

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