Brave Kate has new life

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By NI­COLA STE­WART ni­cola.ste­

Four-year-old Kate en­ergy to burn.

She is learn­ing to ride a quad bike, loves swim­ming and cook­ing, and can’t wait to go to Mata­mata Pri­mary like her big brother Fletcher.

It’s a long way from where she was less than two years ago.

Kate was di­ag­nosed with acute lym­phoblas­tic leukaemia in Au­gust 2011, three months af­ter her third birth­day.

In the first year she spent more time in hospi­tal than at home, fac­ing treat­ment most adults would strug­gle to deal with.

Kate has earned 1005 beads of courage – pro­vided by the Child Can­cer Foun­da­tion – that rep­re­sent the huge moun­tain she has had to climb to get well again.

Each bead re­lates to a pro­ce­dure or ex­pe­ri­ence Kate has had, in­clud­ing nights in hospi­tal, chemo­ther­apy, scans, in­jec­tions and trips to the­atre.

‘‘She knows what she has been through to get them so that makes them spe­cial for her,’’ said mum Jackie. ‘‘She’s quite proud of them.’’ Kate had been feel­ing un­well for about six weeks and had numer­ous vis­its to the doc­tor be­fore she was fi­nally given a blood test.

‘‘Worst night­mare,’’ is the only way Kate’s par­ents can de­scribe the moment they were told Kate had leukaemia.

Jackie took Kate to Auck­land’s Star­ship Hospi­tal the next day, and within 24 hours she was in the­atre hav­ing a PICC line put in her arm, a lum­bar punc­ture and a bone mar­row as­pi­rate.

Diprose has

Af­ter a week in hospi­tal, Kate and Jackie moved into Ron­ald McDon­ald House for an­other six weeks so Kate could start chemo­ther­apy.

Since then, they have made reg­u­lar trips to Star­ship for treat­ment, as well as to Waikato Hospi­tal when Kate picks up an in­fec­tion.

Spend­ing so much time in hospi­tal with Kate was hard on Jackie, who had two other chil­dren, Fletcher, aged five, and Jessie, aged 16 months at the time.

‘‘ It was heart­break­ing, ev­ery time Kate and I would have to leave for the hospi­tal, I would look back and see their sad lit­tle faces in the rearview mir­ror.’’

Jackie’s hus­band Marc, who is a sharemilker on his par­ents’ farm on Tower Rd, stayed be­hind to keep the farm run­ning and take care of the other kids.

‘‘We wanted to try and keep one of us with the other kids at all times,’’ said Jackie.

‘‘All of our en­ergy has gone into mak­ing sure all three kids were taken care of best as pos­si­ble and to get Kate bet­ter.’’

Friends and fam­ily – par­tic­u­larly Marc’s par­ents Janette and Cliff – were a mas­sive help, of­fer­ing re­lief milk­ing, drop­ping off meals and help­ing to look af­ter Fletcher and Jessie.

‘‘If it wasn’t for them we would have had to sell our cows and move to Auck­land,’’ said Jackie.

Neigh­bours pitched in, cul­ti­vat­ing their maize pad­dock and mow­ing their hay and silage, mean­ing Marc could spend some time with Kate in hospi­tal and Jackie could come home to see the other kids.

‘‘I hope peo­ple know how much we ap­pre­ci­ate their help and gen­eros­ity,’’ she said.

Kate is now in the main­te­nance phase of her treat­ment and is look­ing for­ward to start­ing school in May.

‘‘It makes you really grate­ful for what you have and to ap­pre­ci­ate all the small things,’’ said Jackie. ‘‘We just love be­ing to­gether as a fam­ily.’’ The Child Can­cer Foun­da­tion had been ‘‘won­der­ful’’ for the last 19 months, pro­vid­ing sup­port for the fam­ily, in­clud­ing a much-needed hol­i­day in Taupo and food and petrol vouch­ers.

March is the foun­da­tion’s ap­peal month and Jackie spent two days last week col­lect­ing do­na­tions. ‘‘It’s ob­vi­ously very close to my heart,’’ she said. To make an in­stant $3 do­na­tion text BEAD to 206 or do­nate on­line at child­

Strings of brav­ery: Mata­mata four-year-old Kate Diprose, pic­tured with mum Jackie, has earned more than a thou­sand beads of courage in her fight against leukaemia.

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