We celebrated the birth of our daughter, only to be told our son had cancer

Aquilina family

Imagine experiencing the joy of welcoming your new baby into the world, followed by the news that your other child has blood cancer.

This was the confronting reality faced by Katharine and Jason Aquilina when their 18-month-old son, Ryan, was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2013, soon after the birth of their daughter.

The shock was further amplified when the family was told that Ryan would need to commence treatment immediately in Brisbane – at least 1500km away from their home in Innisfail.

“It happened so quickly. The day after Ryan’s diagnosis we flew down to Brisbane, leaving our family, friends and home behind,” Jason said.

It was at this point we were able to help by providing the Aquilina family with a free home-away-from-home at one of the Brisbane accommodation villages while Ryan underwent months of gruelling treatment.

“The Leukaemia Foundation have been so incredibly supportive and we’ve seen first-hand where the money raised for the charity goes,” Katharine said.

Last year Jason decided to give back by taking part in the World’s Greatest Shave. Incredibly, his team ‘Ryan’s Warriors’ were one of the top 30 fundraisers in Queensland, reaching close to $20,000.

Happily, after Ryan’s initial 10-month treatment in Brisbane, the family was able to return home in July 2014 for maintenance treatment, which will last for another two years.

“Ryan is doing well and enjoying being a normal little boy again,” Katharine said.

40 years of love, sweat, and tears

This year, we are celebrating our 40 year anniversary and to help mark the occasion we not only want to share our stories and achievements but yours as well!

Whether you’re currently fighting blood cancer, or beaten it, or even if you’re one of the truly wonderful people who have journeyed alongside someone impacted by blood cancer, we want to hear from you.

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