Abby Christie, 4 will carry a white lantern as an ambassador of Townsville's Light the Night walk along Jezzine Barracks, next to her sister Jasmine, 5, symbolising her battle with blood cancer. PICTURE: Matt Taylor.
Abby Christie, 4 will carry a white lantern as an ambassador of Townsville's Light the Night walk along Jezzine Barracks, next to her sister Jasmine, 5, symbolising her battle with blood cancer. PICTURE: Matt Taylor.

Shock cancer call brings family’s lives to ‘screeching halt’

ON the outside, Abby Christie looks like any other happy and healthy four-year-old girl - picking frangipanis, climbing trees, and giving her mum the runaround alongside big sister Jasmine.

But inside, the brave little girl has been fighting a tough battle against blood cancer.

Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in March last year, Abby's treatment is due to finish in May when it's hoped she will be free of the disease that saw her having regular treatment in Brisbane.

It's a journey that mum Brooke says has solidified the family bond, but she admits it wasn't always easy.

She said the night of the diagnosis, which came after six months of trying, their lives came to a "screeching halt".

"We've had some rough patches but I think it's brought us a lot closer and makes us do more together, because you realise maybe we couldn't have all been here," she said.

"Before she was diagnosed though she was constantly getting any virus that was going around, worse than you would normally expect for a toddler.

"Our poor GP saw us at least every week but we got there in the end.

"(Dad) Jye and I both come from military medical backgrounds so we knew what was going on and what was next, but it's not the same when you're watching your two-and-a-half-year-old go through it."

The first year included a four-month stint in Brisbane for treatment before regular return visits, with the family now down to overnighters once every three months.

It was a difficult situation which saw Brooke travelling south with Abby while Jye stayed at home with Jasmine.

But now the family want to spread awareness about blood cancers, and will give back to the Leukaemia Foundation by acting as ambassadors for the Light the Night walk at Jezzine Barracks later this month.

They will carry two lanterns, one white to represent Abby's blood cancer journey, and one blue to show community support for all those affected.

The event will also see yellow lanterns carried by those who are remembering loved ones lost to blood cancer, and it is those people the Christie family will be thinking of most.

"I have seen a few parents lose their children over the past 18 months and I look at her (Abby) and think 'thank God for our little journey'," Brooke said.



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