Gold Coast toddler's leukaemia battle

A Gold Coast couple whose toddler daughter was diagnosed with leukaemia last year, will transform their locks on Saturday as part of the World's Greatest Shave in an effort to raise $3000 for the Leukaemia Foundation which has assisted the Elanora family throughout the past year.

Troy and Emma Kling-McAuliffe's lives were turned upside down last year when their daughter Chloe became unwell.

Chloe and her identical twin Maddie (Madison) turn three today. They also have an 11-year-old brother Sam.

Emma says Chloe started to get a cough and a sore throat last June.
After being told by a Doctor that it was viral, and being prescribed antibiotics, Chloe then developed a cough that her parents were told was asthma, and was then given ventolin.
"Then we went back to the Dr when she nearly stopped breathing in the night," Emma said.
"We were then given steroids to try and clear her lungs up. By the end of that week she was miserable, tired, covered in bruises and virtually unable to move off the couch. I knew that this was more than a virus and on Saturday the 6th of July I took her to Tweed Hospital. 
"They really had no idea and ran some blood tests. By that afternoon our world changed forever. I think I only heard half of what the paediatrician to me. They said we had to go to Brisbane for treatment. I thought it would be as simple as driving there on the Monday but her red cell count was low as was her platelets meaning she needed a blood transfusion and a platelet transfusion."

"By 7pm that night we were put into a ambulance and transported to the Royal Children's Hospital. I was surprised that we were given an oncologist straight away and he came and met with me that night. My head was swimming and I couldn't take a lot in of what he was saying."

Chloe had a blood transfusion on the Sunday and was taken to theatre on the Monday for a lumbar puncture, spinal chemo and to have a port inserted. 
("A port is a device that sits underneath the skin where they can hook up her chemo and fluids so she doesn't have to have a cannular", Emma said). 

Chloe was in hospital for the next six days.
"And after that we were discharged but weren't allowed back to the Gold Coast as she could become sick very quickly and require hospitalisation. This is where our association with the Leukaemia Foundation started," Emma said.

The Foundation provided the family with a fully furnished 2-bedroom unit in one of their villages. This was at no cost to the family "and meant that my husband and other two children could come up at the weekend to stay", Emma said.

"My mum and mother in law moved into our house so that Troy could continue to work and they helped to look after the other two and keep some 'normality' in their lives. 
It was incredibly hard being away from everyone but there was always someone to say hello to at the village".

Chloe responded well to her initial treatment and the family were permitted to return to the Gold Coast after 6 weeks at the Leukaemia Village. 

The family have been travelling up to Brisbane weekly since then and have also spent a large amount of time in the Gold Coast Hospital when Chloe becomes unwell due to having no immune system. 
"We also have had to give her chemo tablets and injections at home so life has certainly centred around Chloe," Emma said.
"Quite often, on treatment days, I leave home at 6.30am and arrive home at 8pm."

Emma said she and Troy are doing the World's Greatest Shave to say thank you to the Leukaemia Foundation, "as we would never have been able to afford to rent a unit in Brisbane and keep a roof over our heads down here".  

Chloe, who enjoys going to the beach and likes Peppa Pig & Thomas the Tank Engine among others, will continue her treatment until October 2015 "and she has a 85-90% chance of beating it" Emma says.

"She is aware of what's happening to her and knows that her hair is gone because of the chemo. Maddie also knows and is very protective of Chloe," Emma said.
"We are now at the stage where we do a lot of the chemo at home but still have to go to Brisbane every three weeks."

Chloe's family are holding an event tomorrow (Saturday March 15th) from 9am-11am at North Kirra Surf Club (near the big roundabout at Kirra Surf) and hope to raise $3000.

"It started out that I would go blue for $500, which we raised. Then Troy said he would go pink for $1000 and eyebrows for $2000, Sam has now said he will go orange or purple for $3000," Emma said.

People can donate on the day or via:

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