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One-year-old Poppy’s cancer diagnosis was every parent’s nightmare.

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“For two months, I would sleep on the floor in her room beside her every night just to hear her breathing, making sure she was still alive.” – Heath, Poppy’s Dad.

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When barely one-year-old Poppy was laying limp, lifeless and burning up on a plane coming home from a family holiday in Port Douglas, her parents never imagined it would be cancer—let alone acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL) that riddled 98 per cent of their baby’s tiny body. The world-shattering diagnosis saw the family of four tackle treatment, side effects and realities that no baby, no parent, no family should ever have to go through.

For three long years, Poppy endured invasive tests, chemotherapy designed to be strong enough to kill the cancer but not quite strong enough to kill her, and crippling pain so intense she couldn’t walk. All in the hope that she would survive.

Poppy’s Dad Heath, Mum, and big brother Chase were by her side through her cancer diagnosis, treatment and everything in between—including the sleepless nights, the isolation and the recurring sickness that, at times, almost killed her.

For three long, hard years, Poppy endured blood transfusions, platelet transfusions and bone marrow biopsies and picked up any and every sickness going around. Sometimes the treatments made her so sick, Heath wasn’t sure she would make it.

“Sometimes you’d think ‘this is it’. You’d be in the hospital, machines beeping, curled up on the bed with Poppy googling ‘funeral songs’ or ‘colours of coffins’… contemplating what you’d say about your baby.”

Today, four-year-old Poppy has been given the all-clear and is finally beginning to enjoy her childhood without the impact of cancer. However, she will likely have to live with the long-term side effects of the treatment that saved her life, as well as the fear that one day, her cancer could return. Her body is conditioned for it. And if it does, Heath says it’s a “whole new ballgame”.

Our researchers are working on improving cancer treatments for children with leukaemia, that not only have the potential to save children’s lives, but also provide children like Poppy with less toxic and more effective treatment options with fewer long-term side effects.

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Research like that of Cancer Council Beat Cancer Project funded researcher Associate Professor David Yeung from SAHMRI, which focuses on two types of leukaemia, chronic myeloid leukaemia and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, which is what Poppy was diagnosed with four years ago. This research has the potential to change the future for children diagnosed with cancer.

“If we can better understand the different mutations associated with leukaemia, we can then individualise treatments to be less toxic and more effective, with fewer long-term side effects. That may mean less chemotherapy and months of treatment, resulting in less of an impact on the long-term health of a patient, particularly one as young as Poppy,” A/Prof. Yeung.

Together, all of us can find the next research breakthrough that can save more lives, develop better treatment options with less side effects and give more hope to families impacted by cancer.

Your generous gift today will help fund our vital cancer research. Research that children like Poppy and their families are counting on.

If you did not receive our Tax Appeal sharing Poppy’s story and would like to receive our appeals in the future, please get in touch with our Direct Fundraising Officer Holly Inglis at 

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