The tough process for a child who's fighting cancer

WHILE most one-year-olds are busy being curious and learning about their surroundings, Avery Beal is in the fight of her life.

In August last year the Buderim girl was diagnosed with leukaemia and the community rallied around the family to support them.

Six months on and the Beal family is staying strong despite their youngest being in hospital in Brisbane, accompanied by mother, Jennifer.

Husband and father, David takes care of their other five children and tries to keep their lives as normal as possible on the Coast.

FIGHT OF HER LIFE: Avery Beal is battling leukaemia as the community rallies around her Buderim family with offers of help and support.
FIGHT OF HER LIFE: Avery Beal is battling leukaemia as the community rallies around her Buderim family with offers of help and support. Contributed

Mr Beal said Avery was a "very determined girl", who is intelligent and definitely knows what she wants but things lately had been "very up and down".

"In the last week she has been very sick with a number of infections (one frustratingly caused by the hospital itself)," he said.

"She has been in a lot of pain with the particularly nasty infection she is currently fighting and this is affecting her sleep and obviously also that of Jen, as a natural knock-on effect. As you can imagine with little sleep everything else becomes that bit harder to deal with."

Avery has been through three rounds of chemo so far and is currently waiting for her blood counts to rise to a safe level to start the fourth round.

This will be the last planned round of inpatient treatment; however it is also the longest with a minimum 50 days in hospital.

Mr Beal said the support the Sunshine Coast community had provided had been humbling and inspiring.

"The support we have received has been incredible from people based all over Australia," he said.

"However specifically on the Coast we have had an afternoon tea fundraiser carried out on our behalf by the awesome guys at the Island Surf and Espresso in Mudjimba, a collection taken up at a local classical concert run by Suite Music Buderim, gifts from a local op shop as well as from the Rotary Club (of Maroochydore).

"We have also had practical help too with cleaning carried out by a number of different local people - none of whom we knew before, and also a large number of meals and care packages from individuals, local churches, and particularly a huge number of meals cooked for us from members of staff at Youth With A Mission Sunshine Coast, the voluntary organisation I work for."

Mr Beal said they relied on the support of the Coast community through this challenging time.

"Keep passing on the word to others about our battle and those that are on Facebook please like and follow our page on Facebook: Support for Avery's Journey," he said.

"As to other help, we are receiving a number of cooked meals still and help with cleaning so probably the best way to support us is probably through monetary donations.

"Financial support certainly removes some of the stresses that we face and allow us to be totally focused in keeping our family strong and helping Avery get better - particularly as we have incurred lots of additional expenses particularly with all the travel we have had to do."

When Avery comes home mid-year, she we will not be out of the woods as she will have another 18 months of outpatient oral chemo which will involve monthly trips to the hospital.

However, Mr Beal would really love to be able to take the whole family away for a holiday somewhere to celebrate the milestone of Avery coming home but due to the size of his family, in reality, it wouldn't be viable due to the cost.

For updates visit http://www.facebook.com/averysupport



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