Stadium Stomp helps children like Mitchell
Publish Date: 18/5/2017
When Mitchell was just 22 months-old, he and his family were forced to relocate from regional Victoria to Melbourne for urgent treatment. Stadium Stomp, the ultimate stair climbing event, has chosen The Leukaemia Foundation as the national charity partner so we can continue to support children like Mitchell.
In August 2016, parents Alex and Mary had just brought home their newborn baby Archie from hospital. Their oldest boy, Mitchell, was 22 months-old and was enjoying spending time with his new brother.
“Mitchell was waking up crying with night sweats. But his symptoms were put down to something he had picked up at day care.” said his mother, Mary.
However, he didn’t improve and began limping and losing his balance.
“One morning, he woke up with little red dots all over his legs. We took Mitchell to the doctor and were told we could either get in an ambulance or leave immediately for the hospital.”
“The four of us got in our car and drove from Colac straight to the Geelong Hospital, assuming we would be back at home that night but we weren’t home until Christmas, 5 months later.”
Mitchell was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL), a rare disease that most commonly affects children. Because the disease progresses quickly, treatment must begin soon after it is diagnosed.
“When Mitchell was diagnosed with blood cancer, we experienced total shock and fear.”
The following months were riddled with stress and anxiety as their lives were suddenly turned upside down. Alex quit his job, Mary extended her maternity leave and the family moved out of their rental home and packed everything into storage.
“We were living out of suitcases with the four of us sharing one bedroom and Mitchell was constantly in an out of hospital”. Living in such close quarters with Mitchell’s depleted immune system meant he was at high risk of contracting infection.
The whole family were sleep deprived as the parents juggled Mitchell’s hospital stays with caring for his brother Archie.
In January this year, the family were offered a two-bedroom apartment in the Leukaemia Foundation’s Patient Accommodation Centre (VPAC), located across the road from major treatment centres. The accommodation is designed specifically for blood cancer patients, with a hygienic environment and calming spaces where families can retreat during what can be a very difficult time.
“I don’t know what we would have done without it,” said Mary. “We would have been out of pocket and would probably have had to take out a loan in order to rent a bigger place.”
The fifteen apartments were opened in 2016 and include modern facilities such as a gym, landscaped courtyard and communal areas to provide a ‘home away from home.’
“The accommodation has been hugely beneficial to us. It’s been such a relief to have a family friendly, safe space,” said Mary.
Since moving into the accommodation, Mitchell’s hospital admissions due to infections have dropped dramatically. The family have also found it to be a supportive and welcoming community, where they can share their experiences with other families staying at VPAC in similar situations.
“It’s been great to talk to other people who understand what you’re going through.”
Mitchell is currently completing an intensive round of chemotherapy and the family are now able to focus on his health without the added stress of finding a comfortable place to live.
The Leukaemia Foundation is the proud charity partner for Stadium Stomp. Funds raised for the Foundation will go towards vital research and providing Australian families facing a diagnosis of blood cancer with accommodation, transport and practical and emotional support.
Stadium Stomp events are taking place across Australia on the following dates:
- SUNDAY 18 JUNE, MCG, 8AM-1.15PM
- SUNDAY 9 JULY, ADELAIDE OVAL, 8AM-11AM
- SUNDAY 16 JULY, SCG, 8AM-11AM
- SUNDAY 30 JULY, GABBA, 7AM-11AM
You can register as a team or individual online at www.getyourbloodpumping.com