Adam’s struggle with cancer has been going on for 9 years now. The most recent battle began on the 3rd of August 2010 when his bone marrow biopsy came back positive again for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. He started chemotherapy on the 5th of August with an aggressive regime similar to his last relapse regime in 2006. Adam was doing quite well and we were home on the 8th of August and had a day of chemo on the 12th of August.
On Saturday the 14th, Adam woke late morning with uncontrolled vomiting and we had him at the Women’s & Children’s receiving treatment by 1pm. Everything seemed under control and Marian went home while Darren stayed with Adam over night. However, in the very early hours of Sunday morning Adam was transferred to Paediatric ICU and all Adam’s consultants were on deck as his vital signs were all critically out of control. Adam had a serious bowel infection that had taken the opportunity, while his immunity was severely compromised, to take hold of his gut. Thankfully it was decided that the infection did not warrant surgery and we waited out and prayed for his symptoms to settle and for the antibiotics to do their work.
On Sunday morning test results revealed the bacteria causing the infection was a seriously deadly bug and Adam may get worse before he got better, if he got better. His Haematologist/Oncologist consultant decided the best course of action would be white blood cell donations from volunteer donors. Marian prepared immediately to give his first donation on Monday and the word went out far and wide for donors with AB+ blood type to come forward to help. Adam received Marian’s white blood cells at 12.30 am on Tuesday morning and another white blood cell transfusion everyday for the next 10 days from wonderful volunteers.
We were overwhelmed with the generosity of many AB positive donors and had all the help we needed. The haematology team at the Royal Adelaide Hospital were wonderful and very generous with their help and support with this process. We can’t thank the people that ultimately donated their white blood cells enough. As Marian can testify, it is a lengthy process to donate white blood cells as it is more complicated compared to giving a normal blood donation. The generosity of donors with their time and support from work places, in some instances, was extremely appreciated. We were also very comforted and uplifted by the many people who offered to be donors and the support of family and close friends in supporting this process and the prayers of many others at this critical time.
It was because of these white cell donations and the prayers and support of so many that we believe Adam is still here today. Now recovered from this infection, which did take an operation in the end to remove the affected bowel, Adam is ready to face the ongoing treatment to try and eliminate his leukaemia once and for all. A more recent bone marrow biopsy also revealed there is no trace of leukaemia in his bone marrow which ultimately means his leukaemia is still very responsive to treatment. With a milder regime of chemotherapy treatment restarting tomorrow he should be ready to go to Sydney, probably in late November, for more preparatory chemotherapy and radiotherapy before a bone marrow transplant.
Adam needs a bone marrow transplant to try to successfully cure his leukaemia. His past two chemotherapy treatments, although successful in eliminating his leukaemia for periods of time (2 ½ years off treatment after the first treatment and 22 months after the second treatment), have obviously not got rid of the disease for good. Unfortunately, none of his family members are an appropriate match for this transplant and so he and his family with him need to travel to the specialist transplant unit at the Children’s Hospital in Randwick, Sydney. This will be an upheaval for us as a family, but we feel very comforted that the support of the Hudson Maher Foundation will reduce the financial stress that this time would have also caused. The Hudson Maher Foundation will support us with costs for accommodation and groceries while we are in Sydney. We are very grateful for this support and the support through our communities at Adam’s school, Darren’s work and other local community services in donating to the foundation for our family.
All this support, caring and prayers has made an incredibly difficult time bearable and reduced further burdens on us as a family. We will be forever grateful for the generosity of so many to Adam and us as a family and to the Maher family for setting up the foundation to directly support families like ours in this distressing situation.