Heartbreaking reason young girl will miss first day of school

·Lifestyle Reporter
·3-min read

For many four-year-olds, the thought of starting kindergarten brings a mix of excitement and nerves.

But for young Maddie Reedy, excitement quickly turned to devastation when, just 10 days before Christmas, her family learned her leukaemia had relapsed.

Four-year-old Maddie Reedy during cancer treatment has a tube bandaided to her nose and sits near a medical computer.
Four-year-old Maddie Reedy will miss her first day of school after a leukaemia relapse. Photo: Supplied/Rebecca Seigel

First diagnosed with childhood leukaemia in 2019, Maddie entered remission in November 2021. Her mum, Rebecca Seigel, remembers the heartbreak of first learning of Maddie’s diagnosis.

“I still remember to this day hearing the words, ‘we are certain she has leukaemia’," Rebecca tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

"It was like the wind had swept me off my feet. Having to relay the bad news to Maddie’s dad and siblings was just as difficult.”

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The family was ecstatic when, in November 2021, Maddie entered remission.

“It was like a weight had been lifted,” Rebecca says. “But, unfortunately, only a month later we received the news she had relapsed and had to start treatment all over again.

“This time around has definitely been more difficult, as we now know what the road ahead is like.”

Fortnightly chemotherapy treatment hits pause on starting school

Despite her excitement to start kindy, Maddie requires fortnightly chemotherapy treatment and, with the constant threat of COVID, her family decided to delay her kindy start until next year.

“Maddie was very excited to start kindergarten this year with a few of her friends from preschool, but we know it's in her best interest to delay it until next year, when she will be fit and healthy," Rebecca says.

"We can't wait for that moment.”

Maddie's big brother cuddles her in a front yard. He wears blue shorts and a red hooded top. She wears a black T-shirt and red leggings with sandals. Her brown hair is tied up in a knot and is loose at the back.
Maddie will watch her big brother leave for his first day of high school without her. Photo: Supplied/Rebecca Seigel

Help through the heartbreak

Rebecca is thankful for the amazing support from family and friends, which has helped the family to get through this difficult journey.

"They have been there every step of the way, helping with anything that we needed," she says.

"Also, the amazing doctors and nurses who make the hospital feel as comfortable as possible.”

Rebecca also praises The Supertee hospital gowns for making treatment just a little easier.

Supertee makes functional hospital gowns designed to make it easier for nurses to carry out checks and treatment, support parents to help their child with clothing changes, and to encourage children who are sick to access strength through imagining they are a superhero.

Maddie sits in her purple T-shirt on a green rug playing with Duplo blocks in a jungle theme.
Supertee provide functional hospital gowns (pictured) encouraging strength through imagination. Photo: Supplied/Rebecca Seigel

Mum's message to other families facing childhood cancer

Rebecca says it's important to accept help during the journey, and reach out to other people going through a similar situation.

“Allow family and friends to help as much as they can, even if it's something as little as cooking you a hot meal. It all helps in the long run,” Rebecca says.

“Reach out to other families going through the same thing. I found this very helpful.

"They can understand what you and your family are going through.”

"Maddie looks forward to turning five soon and to starting kindergarten next year."

Maddie, in a black T-shirt with gold print, is held by her mum Rebecca, who smiles over her mask and wears a white T-shirt with colourful print. They are both dark-haired and are in a hospital setting.
Maddie and her mum Rebecca look forward to her fifth birthday and to starting kindergarten next year. Photo: Supplied/Rebecca Seigel

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