When Rachelle Mintern took her four-year-old daughter Taylor Garrett to the doctor, she was told the little girl had tonsillitis and needed antibiotics.
Initially, Taylor seemed to improve, but then became sicker. The pair returned to the GP and eventually a blood test was ordered.
Ms Mintern, who was living near Coffs Harbour at the time, was anticipating a diagnosis of anaemia. Instead, she and Taylor received a call telling them to go to hospital immediately.
Within two hours, Taylor and her mum were airlifted to Sydney Children’s Hospital at Randwick.
Taylor had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
“I knew she was sick,” Ms Mintern said. “But I didn’t expect something like leukaemia.”
After the initial diagnosis, Taylor underwent two years of intensive treatment, including chemotherapy.
The pair spent months at a time in Sydney, with Ms Mintern at her daughter's bedside or at nearby Ronald McDonald House.
Taylor, now aged seven and attending Lake Albert Public School, responded well to her treatment and is now officially in remission.
Ms Mintern is now hoping a Wagga community group will take up the Leukaemia Foundation’s call for help in starting a Light the Night event in the city.
Light the Night is a walk during which family and friends light a lantern in honour of sufferers and raise funds for blood cancer research and support.
Ms Mintern has attended previous events in Coffs Harbour and Coolamon.
“Its’s a lovely event for a great cause,” she said. “It would be great to have one in Wagga. When you talk to people, almost everyone knows someone who has been affected by leukaemia.”
Last October, more than 35,000 people attended 143 Light the Night events.
“Hosting a Light the Night walk is a truly wonderful opportunity to come together and show people in the community affected by blood cancers that in their darkest moment, they’re not alone,” Sarah Hozack from the Leukaemia Foundation said.
For details, visit www.lightthenight.org.au/host or call Mieka Hynec on 02 9902 2204.