“Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is the most common childhood cancer. It occurs when a bone marrow cell develops errors in its DNA.
Symptoms may include enlarged lymph nodes, bruising, fever, bone pain, bleeding from the gums and frequent infections.”
I’ve kept in touch with Vanie a fair bit since first documenting her family together during Bella’s first cancer journey. She got in touch recently, wanting to capture some moments together in the hospital as they’d just received news that Bella will be undergoing a bone marrow transplant in just a few short weeks. Although the procedure has it’s risks, to say I was happy to hear the news that Bella could potentially be free from living life in the hospital attached to a machine is an understatement. Of course there is much more to it than that and I won’t try to explain it all but ultimately, this is their chance for freedom.
When Vanie got in touch, she mentioned Bella wanted to dress up as a ballerina and have some photos taken of her in her outfit.
As I arrived, Bella and her sister Olivia were dressed up in their best dresses. We took some photos in the room first and then headed out down the hall. Bella can’t venture out too far usually and is mostly confined to her room and the Kookaburra ward. Just for today we went out a little further to the big windows that overlook the playground and street. Bella stepped up to the window and looked outside. The sense of longing for a ‘normal’ life at home with her family was evident but she takes it in her stride and fights each day like a trooper because she knows she can and she has so much ahead of her!
Time for a quick family portrait before we headed back to the ward to do some ballerina photos!I gave her a bit of time but as she stood there at the window sill and I waited, she just jumped right into ballerina mode and started her posing. She was in her element! It made me so proud to be there to witness and capture this for her and for her family.
When she was ready, we headed back to her room and she grabbed at the chance to check out some family photos on her sisters iPad (while she wasn’t looking!) and it set her into hysterics <3
Bella I wish you a long life of happiness and health. May you breeze through transplant and never have to be back in this position again. You are the strongest and bravest and most courageous young lady I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and I look forward to seeing you back at school very soon!!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for allowing me to document this significant piece of your journey.