Despite spending the past 15 months fighting for her life, little Chelsea Hogan is still smiling.
Her Kellyville family never thought Chelsea’s complaint of back and leg pain would spark the beginning of a heartbreaking ordeal of hospital admissions, radiation therapy and sleepless nights.
Parents Brendan and Barbara Hogan said they were devastated when doctors diagnosed their youngest daughter, then 4, with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Mrs Hogan said the family were hit with another devastating blow when Chelsea tested positive to a rare form of chromosomal cancer called Philadelphia Positive.
“They don’t really have any statistics for [Philadelphia Positive] kids so it’s been pretty hard,” Mrs Hogan said.
“It was meant to be six to 10 months hardcore treatment but now we are at 15 months and we haven’t even finished that.”
The mother-of-two said the little battler had spent more time in hospital than at school. “But when she’s well enough, we try to get her to school because it’s really good for her,” she said.
“She also likes to do craft and she has an iPad.”
Winston Hills Public School has rallied around the family and hosted a Hawaiian themed trivia night to raise money for the family.
Chelsea’s Challenge Hawaiian Trivia Night on March 18 raised more than $20,000 for Chelsea and her family, with more than 300 people donning their best Hawaiian dress for the fundraiser.
Event organiser Sue Bryant said the school was thrilled with the results of the event.
“For me, it was about bringing the whole community together on one night and showing the family how much love and support that they have around them,” Ms Bryant said.
“We are elated by the result. It’s really fantastic.”
Mrs Hogan said the family was overwhelmed by the community’s support during their time in need.
“We are so appreciative of everyone’s help. The amount raised is totally incomprehensible,” she said.
“But more importantly knowing that there are so many people out there that love and support us is so comforting.
“I have a full time job but unfortunately I haven’t been able to work, so this money will be used for day-to-day but also for after.
“Chelsea has always wanted to go to Hawaii so we will put some money away for after all of this is over.
“I don’t know what normal is anymore, but whatever our life is, we will save some of the money for then.”