Just after Imogen was born, her mum Rachel and dad Russ received the devastating news that doctors had found some physical abnormalities and wanted to do genetic testing.
They’ll never forget hearing that their precious new baby daughter had a serious and life-threatening disorder. But one of the hardest things was being told she would most likely develop cancer. Their grief and anxiety were overwhelming.
“It was heart-breaking, there were a lot of tears.” – Rachel.
Imogen’s condition, called Fanconi anaemia, meant her bone marrow is making abnormal blood cells. Along with a host of physical impacts from hip problems to a hole in her heart, her cancer risk was sky-high. By the age of two, her bone marrow was functioning at only 10%, making her twice as likely to develop blood cancers like leukaemia.
Her best hope was a bone marrow transplant. This is the same treatment needed by many patients with leukaemia but for Imogen it would be a preventative. Along with effectively curing the blood problems of her Fanconi anaemia, it would reduce her cancer risk.
The doctors told Imogen’s parents that relocating to Sydney or Seattle in the US was her only option to get the life-saving treatment she needed. But thanks to Foundation funding in recent years, we now have the expertise and equipment at Perth Children’s Hospital for Imogen’s transplant to be done right here in WA.
Incredibly, a donor match for Imogen was found in March. The preparation for her transplant was intense, but her mum says the doctors were astonished with how soon she was back on her feet, running around like her old happy self.
Thankfully, gold-standard care like Imogen’s bone marrow transplant is available in Perth because of the equipment, research and expertise we fund at Perth Children’s Hospital, thanks to our donors like you.
“Immi will be needing the oncology services for ongoing maintenance, close monitoring and treatment of future cancers throughout her body,” Imogen’s mum Rachel says. “Funding will be crucial for research, equipment and development for her treatment and for many other children with cancer. Without it, kids like Immi wouldn’t get a second chance at life.” – Rachel, Imogen’s mum.
For children and families like Imogen’s who are living with the uncertainty of cancer, it’s incredibly difficult – especially at Christmas. But your gift can help a child get well and stay well.