The parents of a 17-month-old girl have opened up about their toddler’s symptoms that led to the discovery of her heartbreaking cancer diagnosis.
Parents Maddison, 40, and Jared Lamperd, 41, told NCA NewsWire that two weeks prior to her diagnosis Arielle had conjunctivitis and her face swelled up “like a balloon”.
“It was just huge and her eyes were really swollen, which I thought was quite weird,” Ms Lamperd said.
“We thought, ‘What on earth is going on with her face?’ but she seemed to be happy, she was eating, everything was normal other than that.”
The Canberran said Arielle had been unwell with a string of sicknesses that doctors assumed to be “childcare viruses” before finding out she had leukaemia.
“She had every daycare germ under the sun like all kids,” she said.
But a few months after the pair first noticed Arielle’s “puffy” face, her mother followed her intuition and pushed for doctors to run blood and urine tests.
“I said, ‘She still has a puffy face and it’s really getting worse’. You know, I was really starting to get a bit worried now,” Ms Lamperd said.
“It sounds crazy but I just knew in my gut that it was cancer.”
It wasn’t until the couple were sitting in the doctor’s office following a series of tests that they were told their daughter had leukaemia and she would need to be rushed to Canberra Hospital by an ambulance.
“I just remember freaking out, my head just couldn’t cope with what we were being told.” Ms Lamperd said.
“I guess you always think it won‘t happen to you, that it will be someone else.
“We never imagined to have a child with cancer because we don’t have cancer in the family.”
On the same day Arielle was taken to hospital, the family were flown via an emergency plane to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Sydney, where they were notified they’d need to relocate for up to 12 months for their child’s treatment.
Ms Lamperd said her daughter was “absolutely terrified” all the time of anyone wearing a mask.
“Anytime she sees someone come into the room with a mask that she doesn‘t know she starts screaming and crying because she’s scared that they’re gonna hurt her,” she said.
“It‘s harder for us parents because we can’t tell her what’s going on and she is terrified, absolutely terrified all the time.”
Research by the Children’s Cancer Institute reveals around 280 people aged 0-19 are diagnosed with leukaemia every year in Australia, making it the most common form of childhood cancer.
Leukaemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow that produces large numbers of abnormal white blood cells.
The cancer causes a whole range of symptoms such as bruising and bleeding, tiredness, fever, mouth sores, enlarged lymph glands and skin rashes.
The family have a long journey ahead, with a five-year wait before they will know if Arielle can go into clinical remission.
Family friends have set up a GoFundMe to help pay for the family’s living expenses now they can’t work as well as assist with Arielle’s medical treatment.