Despite her smiling face, little Olivia faces a major battle, receiving treatment for leukaemia and now needing a bone marrow donor.
Despite her smiling face, little Olivia faces a major battle, receiving treatment for leukaemia and now needing a bone marrow donor.

Baby Olivia's brave fight

FIVE-MONTH-OLD Olivia Heckels was rushed to Brisbane in a helicopter about a month ago after being diagnosed with leukaemia at Hervey Bay Hospital.

Her mum Kim flew down with her while her dad Ashley followed in the car with her brothers William, 6, and Alistair, 4.

“Things were quite grim,” Ashley said.

“She wouldn't have lasted a week if she didn't get treated.”

Olivia was in intensive care for a week-and-a-half, but had responded well to her first round of chemo and was as well as could be expected under the circumstances, he said.

The Heckels, of Toogoom, are searching for a bone marrow donor because they just found out that no one in the family is compatible.

Parents and friends at St James Lutheran College, the school where William is in Year 1, have banded together for a blood donation drive and to ask people to consider becoming bone marrow donors.

Organiser of the blood drive Michelle McLean said they would run a free sausage sizzle at the Hervey Bay blood bank at 43 Hunter Street in Pialba tomorrow from 9am to noon for blood donors.

“We don't want it to be just the school – all the community can get involved,” she said.

Ms McLean said school had been reeling from the news about Olivia's leukaemia, a blood cancer, and did not know how to help until they decided to give blood.

Ashley said the blood drive and bone marrow donor push would not only help Olivia, who needed a lot of blood transfusions and bone marrow, but others in a similar situation.

“Until it touches you, you don't think how serious it is,” he said.

Ashley said the school's support had been amazing.

“It's unbelievable,” he said.

“The support that we're getting from them is unreal.”

Ashley is trying to continue to work as a real estate agent in Hervey Bay through the week while Kim cares for Olivia in Brisbane.

Grandparents and other family members help care for their sons and Ashley usually drives to the city on Saturday afternoon and returns Monday night or Tuesday.

“It's a big upheaval for everyone,” he said.



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