Raef Schmidt with his family, mum Gemma, dad Brendan, brother Karson and sister Romy.
Raef Schmidt with his family, mum Gemma, dad Brendan, brother Karson and sister Romy.

Family faces uncertain future after devastating diagnosis

A young family is coming to grips with a new reality after what they thought was a virus turned out to be a devastating diagnosis.

Buderim Mountain State School student Raef Schmidt was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at the weekend after coming down with symptoms of what was first thought to be a virus.

The seven-year-old is now in intensive care in a children's hospital in Brisbane receiving intense chemotherapy in a bid to have him in remission in the next two months.

His parents, Brendan and Gemma Schmidt, who operate award-winning building company Brendan Schmidt Constructions, are grappling with the logistics as Gemma stays in Brisbane with Raef while Brendan juggles work and caring for their other two children, Karson, 6 and Romy, 2.

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Raef's aunt, Jess Schmidt, said the diagnosis had come as a shock.

She said Raef was taken to Sunshine Coast University Hospital after going off his food, dropping a bit of weight and feeling lethargic.

She said they initially thought he had a virus but medical staff had triaged him as a high priority, initially suspecting meningococcal or meningitis.

Young Raef Schmidt has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Young Raef Schmidt has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Raef was taken to Brisbane by ambulance where he was diagnosed later with the cancer that affects blood and bone marrow.

"It is actually the most common type of leukaemia in young children," Ms Schmidt said.

She said they'd been advised the survival rate was high if caught early enough.

Raef has started an eight-week intensive chemotherapy course.

He was taken to intensive care and placed on dialysis after becoming "really unwell" as a result of the initial chemotherapy.

Ms Schmidt said Raef was feeling better on Wednesday morning than he had the previous night, an encouraging sign for the family.

"He's having a real hard time," she said.

Young Raef Schmidt has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Young Raef Schmidt has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Despite the situation, Ms Schmidt said her nephew was excited at the prospect of losing all his hair, including his eyebrows.

She said Raef would need to stay within 10 minutes of hospital in Brisbane after his initial course of chemotherapy was completed.

He could start to be reintroduced back home in about four months.

But he will remain on daily chemotherapy tablets and fortnightly or monthly intravenous chemotherapy administered in Brisbane for the next two years.

Ms Schmidt said her brother and his wife were "really struggling" as they came to grips with the sudden change to their lives.

A fundraiser has started to help the young family deal with any time off needed, added fuel, accommodation, hospital and other expenses they may face.

Ms Schmidt said they had a "real solid family unit" behind them and the family had been blown away by the support, with almost $30,000 raised in less than two days.

To donate, click here.


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