GETTING BETTER: Cade Duncan, 4, is currently in Brisbane receiving treatment for leukemia.
GETTING BETTER: Cade Duncan, 4, is currently in Brisbane receiving treatment for leukemia. contributed

Donations a real life-blood for little Cade

CADE Duncan is only four years old but he already knows what leukemia and chemotherapy are.

He's currently in Brisbane receiving treatment but his friends and educators at Petit Early Learning Journey Marian are still looking after him.

Petite has organised a blood drive and centre director Amy Murray is proud of her team.

After Cade's diagnosis, his father Shane suggested a blood donation when Mrs Murray asked if there a was anything they could do.

"As a team, we felt this was a wonderful support and had many conversations about the importance of the donation and felt it was a great opportunity for all families to also be a part of this journey," Mrs Murray said.

This week, 25 people, including staff and families, will donate whole blood and plasma in support of Cade.

The centre also raised more than $1300 from a Relay for Life fundraiser.

"The blood drive is an amazing idea and can help children like Cade, as kids with leukemia or cancer can need many blood transfusions during their treatment just to keep their blood counts at the level they should be," Cade's mother Sophie Duncan said.

She said her son had gone from a typical, happy four-year-old (pictured) who enjoyed playing outside to a pale boy who was losing his hair and strength in his legs.

The family hopes to take Cade home soon but he will return for intensive treatment at Christmas.

The Duncans are being assisted by Childhood Cancer Support, which has supplied them with accommodation close to the hospital.

"We are living in a two-bedroom unit a 10-minute walk from the hospital," Mrs Duncan said.

"Being this close is really important as, particularly during the first month when their immune systems are at their lowest, you need to get them to emergency within 30 minutes when their temperature hits 38 or above.

"This happened to Cade last week and he was in hospital for a week on antibiotics."

Mrs Duncan said until her son was affected, she knew little about childhood leukemia and what the treatment involved - "the side effects and how tough it is on the kids and also how long it takes".

"The kids are amazing having to have chemo for so long," she said.

"Blood transfusions, losing their hair, nausea, muscle wastage so they can't walk for a while."

Mrs Duncan said she was keeping a positive attitude for her son.

"This particular type of leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, is the better kind and Cade is responding really well so far," she said.

Mrs Duncan said support from hospital staff and the family's local community made a big difference.

"It doesn't make it any easier or less heartbreaking when you have to see your child get sicker before they get better, but the hospital and staff are amazing at Lady Cilento's and the support provided is phenomenal," she said.

"The support we've had from our family and friends and the Marian community has also been amazing and is keeping us strong for Cade."

  •  To donate blood or plasma contact the Australian Red Cross Blood Service Mackay Donor Centre on 13 14 95.

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