Youngster’s leukaemia relapse devastating ‘beyond belief’
A BANGALOW family is "devastated beyond belief" their four year old son has relapsed from leukaemia and been plunged into the medical minefield created by Queensland's hard border closure.
Arlo Ozols is well known to readers of The Northern Star, having battled his condition from the age of about 18 months.
But now Arlo is back in Brisbane's Royal Children's Hospital undergoing chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants and radiation.
His family cannot come back to their home in Bangalow for at least six months, even if the youngster can be discharged for community treatment.
But that hasn't stopped the community from rallying around them and starting a GoFundMe campaign with the aim of raising $50,000 to support the family. It had already topped $28,000 by late today.
The treatment is worse this time around because the young boy is more aware of what's happening to him and what he is missing out on back home.
"We are devastated beyond belief with the relapse and still coming to terms with the path ahead," his father Rowan said from Brisbane.
"There is nothing anyone can say or do to make this situation easier.
"When Arlo was diagnosed at 18 months, knowing he was too young to understand and remember meant we as parents only had to remember the trauma he went through. This gave us comfort.
"Now that he is four, and has more understanding, holding him down against his will while screaming at us, fighting to get necessary medicines into him breaks our hearts. Doing this is the only hope we have."
Adding to the "stress and pressure", the family had to navigate the nightmare of Queensland's hard border closure.
"The fact that as a family we are separated, as I am trapped in the hospital room trying to keep Arlo's spirit's high getting little reprieve, while my wife is quarantined in a city hotel, is frustrating and cruel, given our extenuating circumstances," Mr Ozols said.
"I must stress, that I am fighting this point not just for my family but all other Northern Rivers' families seeking medical attention in Queensland cruelly impacted by border closure."
He said he was "overwhelmed, humbled" by the support coming from the community back home.
"We would also like to reiterate and make sure people also share a thought for other families among the community who are also going through similar situations," he said.
"We must rally as communities and have compassion and support for everyone during these difficult and uncertain times."
To donate to the GoFundMe fundraiser for the family go to https://gf.me/u/ytnsrs