Olivia's home away from home

1 July 2023 | Expected time to read: 2-3 minutes

At 17-years of age Olivia was diagnosed with leukaemia. “Looking back it was a devastating diagnosis but it never felt like that because of how the team were from the very beginning and the network of friends I made who were going through the same thing.” 

Olivia’s symptoms came suddenly when she started feeling tired, experiencing body and head aches, stomach pain and temperatures. Initially she thought it might have been Glandular fever but when her doctor called after receiving her blood test results and told her to go straight to hospital, she knew something wasn’t right. 

When Olivia first arrived at SCH, she was introduced to Dr Richard Mitchell, Director of Kids Cancer Centre at SCH, who told her that the blood tests confirmed she had leukaemia. 

“When he told me I was shocked and it didn’t seem believable but from the moment he said that I had cancer I felt supported and he explained everything to me. “Olivia said. 

Immediately, she started her year-long treatment journey undergoing intense chemotherapy. 

“Olivia got very sick multiple times last year but she soldiered on and her bright and sparkly personality continued on all the way through. We were able to get her through some pretty difficult moments,” Dr Richard Mitchell said. 

Throughout her diagnosis, Olivia has never felt alone. She found a second home at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick (SCH), supported by the doctors, nurses, staff and patients who became her friends and like family. Although it became hard at times for Olivia she says that all she remembers is the support she received from the team and the friends she made on the ward. 

“We understood each other more than our families understood us. They just got it because they were going through it together and it was the best support we could ever get.” 

Now Olivia is on maintenance therapy, allowing her to be at home while regularly taking oral tablets, giving her time to dedicate to studying to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. 

Olivia encourages everyone to donate to Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation to help make a difference to sick kids like her. 

“The impact that fundraising has on us, our treatment and the rest of our lives is so hard to describe because of how much of an impact it makes,” Olivia said. 

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