Ivy's story

If we’d waited another 48 hours, Ivy would not be here today.

- Nicole, Ivy’s mum

Ivy was a bubbly 3-year-old who loved singing and dancing, visiting friends and going to the beach. Then, within weeks, she went from healthy to being in ICU, coming very close to death.

Ivy 1


At Ivy’s daycare, staff noticed that she wasn’t her usual energetic self, prompting her mum, Nicole, to take her to the doctor. Nicole was told that Ivy probably had a cold and to give her Panadol. Ivy seemed to improve, but then deteriorated, so was taken back to the medical clinic. Again, Ivy seemed to get better, then took a turn for the worse and ended up back at the clinic, where she saw a second doctor. Over a period of weeks, this pattern continued. It was only when Nicole took Ivy to see a third doctor that a major problem was recognised, and Ivy was sent for tests. .

I told the doctor ‘I need to know what this is, because one minute she’s fine, the next minute she’s not, and this has been going on for five weeks now.

- Nicole, Ivy's mum

Ivy CCIA 2


Nicole took Ivy immediately for a blood test and an ultrasound. “That night, the doctor called and said I needed to go to Gosford Hospital because Ivy might have leukaemia.” But before Nicole had left the house, the phone rang again. Go straight to John Hunter Children’s Hospital, she was told. At the hospital, more tests were done. The results were clear: Ivy had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, and it was advanced.



Ivy began chemotherapy. After a week in hospital she was allowed home, but ended up back in hospital only hours later with constant vomiting. Then the same thing happened again. After another stay in hospital, Ivy finally went home. But things took a turn for the worse, and she was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with liver failure and a collapsed lung. Two weeks later, on Christmas Eve, she went back to the cancer ward for another three months. Once out of ICU, Ivy slowly began to improve. However, being so immunocompromised, she spent most of the time “stuck in her room”, says Nicole, having very little interaction with other children.

Ivy had to learn how to walk again. She also had to learn how to eat properly because she’d had feeding tubes

- Nicole, Ivy’s mum


Ivy has been in remission since 2018. She has 6-monthly follow-up appointments at the hospital to check her health, as well as regular occupational therapy and speech therapy. Since completing her treatment, Ivy has had some serious health issues to contend with, including autism and epilepsy. Now in Year 4 at school, she is in the assisted learning class due to learning difficulties. In her free time, Ivy enjoys dancing, arts and crafts, and playing on her iPad. She also recently started singing lessons

Ivy CCIA 4

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