Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

In the Fight of Her Life; Olivia's Cancer Battle Becomes Main Priority for Family

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

In the Fight of Her Life; Olivia's Cancer Battle Becomes Main Priority for Family

Article excerpt

CAROLYN ARCHER

JOURNALIST

carolyn.archer@news-mail.com.au

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"SHE'S my hero. What she's been through and to still have a smile on her face."

Bundaberg dad Michael Stapleton is in awe of the youngest of his five children, nine-year-old Olivia.

Remaining positive while undergoing treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, Olivia's diagnosis threw the family's life upside down and they've already spent more than eight months in Brisbane away from home.

Mr Stapleton and partner Allison Bent's 18-year-old son Nathan has put his studies on hold to support his family while Scott, 13, and Brooke, 16, go to the hospital each day where they attend a make-shift school.

"It's just been unfortunate that some of the services aren't available in Bundaberg," Mr Stapleton said.

"They are working to get better oncology services for kids and it would have been good to be able to stay at home."

But until then, Mr Stapleton said he would be staying in Brisbane were the top specialists are located.

Mr Stapleton said their situation was not unique. When they arrived at the Leukaemia Foundation's accommodation village in Dutton Park there were another four Bundaberg families.

"This accommodation provides for regional patients and families but you still have at-home expenses, like rent and electricity, that never stops," he said.

"Talking to the fathers here, the mortgages and the car payments doesn't register any more.

"It's a day-by-day battle. You can't think about what's happening in a month."

Olivia's battle began is November last year.

"She came home from school and had a bit of a limp. …

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