Leukaemia: Superhero Bayley is beating the blood cancer bad guy

Bayley McKinnon

Bayley (centre) with this superhero side-kick brothers Corey and Archie. Photo: Melissa Horton Photography

After spending months and thousands of kilometres apart, the McKinnon family are back together and superhero Bayley is beating the blood cancer bad guy.

Just after Easter 2014, the McKinnon’s lives took a dramatic turn with the news their six-year-old son, Bayley, had leukaemia.

Living and working in North Queensland, Bayley’s Mum Teresa and Dad Jamie had to make the difficult decision to spend months apart while Bayley received life-saving treatment in Brisbane.

“Jamie and I decided when Bayley was diagnosed that it would be better for our younger twin boys to be home where they could be with their Dad and keep going to kindy, surrounded by our very supportive local
community,” Teresa said.

Teresa became Bayley’s full-time carer during their eight months in Brisbane – 1700 kilometres from home.

Luckily Teresa was supported by her Mum who travelled from her home in New South Wales to look after the younger children to allow Jamie to continue his fly-in fly-out job and support the family financially.

“I really consider there were three carers while Bayley went through treatment in Brisbane – me, Jamie and my Mum,” Teresa said.

“I am so grateful that the Leukaemia Foundation recognised this and offered invaluable emotional support not just for me but for all of us,” Teresa added.

“Leukaemia Foundation Support Services Coordinator Maryanne Skarparis would take me out for coffee regularly to see how I was going and gave me time away from the hospital.

“She really went the extra mile by phoning Jamie and my Mum to keep them feeling connected and offered them information and emotional support.”

Life back home

“Bayley has been back at home in Malanda for six months now and able to do the things a normal seven year old boy would,” Teresa said.

“His maintenance treatment is going well and he’s back at school and enjoying playing with his brothers and friends.”

The McKinnon family still receive support from the Leukaemia Foundation receiving regular contact from Cairns Support Services Coordinator, Donna Vrancken.

“Donna holds bi-monthly meetings in Cairns for families with leukaemia, which is a great way to meet and catch up with local families,” she said.

“It also makes you feel like you are not alone while you are trying to adjust to your new ‘normal’ lifestyle.

“I am so grateful that I did not have to face this really difficult time alone. The peace of mind this emotional support brought was an incredible gift.”

Contact the Leukaemia Foundation

If you are caring for a loved one with a blood cancer and you need support and information, please contact us on 1800 620 420. Emotional support, counselling and financial assistance is available for carers and patients whether you live in metropolitan or regional areas. Call us on 1800 620 420 for more information.

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