In May 2021, my son Gus was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 4. It was not a diagnosis we ever expected when I took him to the hospital with suspected gastro. Gus’ treatment is 26 months in duration and he has endured IV chemo, intrathecal chemo, oral chemo, countless blood tests, blood transfusions, and more needles than we can count during this time. From the day of diagnosis, our lives changed in an instant. Gus started treatment within hours of being diagnosed and we were left trying to understand what this meant and how this was going to impact us. We had to withdraw our daughter (2) from childcare to reduce the risk of viruses and illness coming into our home and both my husband and I were not able to work full time for over a year due to ongoing hospital appointments and providing care to both children. Gus is going well and has responded positively to treatment. We only have 5 weeks left of treatment to go and we plan on having a big party to celebrate!
The main struggle we have faced is being able to juggle children, work and family when Gus has been admitted to the ward. If Gus gets a temperature over 38 degrees we are admitted to start
antibiotics as the main cause for concern for our kids is sepsis and secondary infections during times of illness. So when Gus picks up a virus, we typically spend 2-3 days minimum admitted into hospital. As we have a young daughter, Edith, it means when one of us goes into hospital with Gus, the other parent has to also take time off work to look after Edith which then impacts us financially.
We have been so fortunate enough to use the meal delivery service that is available on the ward. Prior to the YouFoodz meals being available, families had to take all their own meals in to the ward. So when packing the car to make that emergency trip, you had to remember to pack meals and food
for yourself, which often meant more time packing the car and delaying getting to the hospital. It was another added stress to an already stressful time. Also, while we were in hospital, we would need to arrange for food to be dropped off by family which often felt like an inconvenience and a burden.
Since the YouFoodz have been available on the ward, I no longer worry about packing meals for myself and can concentrate on getting Gus packed and into the hospital. It also means that we
don’t need to factor in time out of our already stressful busy day with work or with Edith to run food into PCH for whoever is with Gus. It not only save the stress, but also money that is spent driving
to and from the hospital and paying for parking.
Elliott's Run for a Reason
Following a jetty to jetty swim, my stepbrother Elliott was looking for his next challenge. He talked about running the half marathon Run for a Reason and wanted to look for a cause he could donate too.
Gus has been a large part of Elliott’s life and the connection and bond they have is strong. Elliott has been there for every step of Gus’ journey and has made sure to make Gus smile on his hardest treatment days. He has never turned his back or walked away when things have been too hard or too sad.
For Elliott, it was an easy decision to choose HHF as his charity to support. He has seen the struggle we have been through before HHF was around and can see how much HHF has made our journey easier during times of stress.