Liv­ing ev­ery par­ent’s worst night­mare

Rodney Times - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - MATTHEW CATTIN

The Bick­ford fam­ily was three weeks into a new life in the coun­try when their night­mare be­gan.

Set­tling into their new Gis­borne home af­ter a move from Whanga­paraoa, Erin and Steven Bick­ford no­ticed their two and a half year old daugh­ter Brya was feel­ing fa­tigued.

A fever and rash de­vel­oped and, fol­low­ing a trip to the GP, she was rushed to Gis­borne Hos­pi­tal for tests.

Leukaemia was sus­pected, and the fam­ily was told to get Brya to Star­ship Hos­pi­tal.

‘‘Ev­ery par­ent’s worst night­mare was hap­pen­ing to us. Our hearts sank - we gasped in shock,’’ Erin said.

‘‘My ini­tial thought was what had I done wrong... was it some­thing I did as a mother that caused it? We were told it was just bad luck, one of those things.’’

The first week was hec­tic, stress­ful and tir­ing, Erin says, with Brya go­ing into the­atre three times.

‘‘Never be­fore had she been in the­atre so even this was scary for us,’’ she said.

Brya was di­ag­nosed with Acute Lym­phoblas­tic Leukemia, or ALL.

‘‘To hear your child has can­cer and will need chemo is the scari­est thing in the world. I couldn’t be­lieve this hap­pen­ing to us,’’ Erin said.

‘‘Whilst we were be­ing told the worst news you could re­ceive as a par­ent, we were also be­ing ad­vised that the type she had had a great cur­able out­come.

‘‘With this news we were keep­ing pos­i­tive and strong and con­cen­trat­ing was on keep­ing Brya happy, com­fort­able and healthy.’’

Doc­tors aim to get Brya into re­mis­sion over the next month, and con­tinue with treat­ment for the next two years.

‘‘It will be a long road to re­cov­ery but that is what we are con­cen­trat­ing on; re­cov­ery,’’ Erin said.

The fam­ily has been blown away by the sup­port of fam­ily, friends, vol­un­teers and char­i­ties.

They give their thanks to Leukaemia and Blood Can­cer New Zealand, Ron­ald McDon­ald House, Bel­ly­ful, Whanga­paraoa Play­cen­tre, Coast Kindy, Party King­dom and Mitre 10 Whanga­paraoa for sup­port and fundrais­ing.

A ‘Band To­gether for Brya’’ con­cert will be held at JamJar Stu­dios on July 8.

Visit givealit­tle.co.nz/cause/ bryabick­fords­fund for more in­for­ma­tion or to help.

Two and a half year old Brya Bick­ford has been di­ag­nosed with Acute Lym­phoblas­tic Leukemia.

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