Meet ballerina Bella
18 Mar 2016
Bella loves dancing and flowers and wants to be a ballerina or florist when she grows up.
On Waitangi Day 2014, Bella’s family took a phone call that they’ll never forget –Bella’s blood tests were back and she needed to be taken to Dunedin Hospital as soon as possible.
“We arrived in Dunedin and that night we were on the move again, onboard a life-flight to Christchurch Hospital. It was there that we received her definite diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL),” says Bella’s mum Kelly.
Kelly and Bella spent the next six weeks in hospital in Christchurch and their “lives were turned completely upside down”.
Going through treatment
Following this initial treatment phase, which included many rounds of chemotherapy, Kelly and Bella were able to return home.
However, another intensive treatment phase saw them back staying in Christchurch for a number of weeks, then a couple of weeks in Dunedin Hospital.
“We were then able to stay at home, but travelling to and from Dunedin, an eight hour round trip first weekly, then every ten days for treatment,”
“As Bella is now on maintenance, we travel to Dunedin once a month for treatment as well as regular blood tests at our nearest hospital.”
Bella’s family met their local Child Cancer Foundation Family Support Coordinator, Christine, early in treatment and Kelly says the support they’ve received has been invaluable.
“We’ve had so much help from the Child Cancer Foundation. We were given a lovely bag while in hospital full of essential things as well as items to help entertain and distract both Bella and her younger brother, who was only a toddler at the time she was diagnosed.”
Kelly is also very grateful for the financial support the Foundation has been able to provide, including assisting with grocery and travel costs for the many trips for Bella’s treatments and specialist appointments.
Bella treasures the Beads of Courage® she’s received from the Foundation in recognition of the procedures and operations she’s undergone during her battle with cancer and the milestones she’s achieved.
Kelly says collecting the beads is a good distraction for her young daughter during some of the procedures she’s not too fond of.
“Bella has been so brave. We are settling back into a new routine now, and she is loving being at school.”
Bella finishes her two years of treatment in mid-April 2016, a date her and her family are looking forward to.
How you can help
The Child Cancer Foundation is a nationwide organisation that works hard to reduce the impact of cancer. A donation from you will help us provide the support families need from that terrible time of diagnosis, throughout treatment and beyond.