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In the Media: Inspirational Izzy giving back to Little Heroes!

IZABELLE Elliott was born fighting for her life – six weeks premature after a troubled pregnancy.

And soon after the now five-year old caught a cold and developed bronchiolitis, spending more time in hospital.

“Doctors told me when I arrived (at the hospital), ‘I’m not going to sugar-coat it, she has a 50/50 chance’,” mum Lee-Anne said.

“We thought it was the worst of anything she would have to deal with.”

But in February this year Mrs Elliott and husband Mark were told Izzy had acute myeloid leukaemia – a cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.

“I sat up at the ward for hours that night when she was officially diagnosed and cried basically,” Mrs Elliott said.

For the next seven months, Mr Elliott took care of their other children Katey, 13, Sophie, 11, Jack, 10, and Emma, 7, at their Aldinga home, while Mrs Elliott and Izzy travelled back and forth to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Mrs Elliott says Izzy remained strong and positive throughout most of her treatment, but struggled during her fourth round of chemotherapy.

“She was just done for,” Mrs Elliott said. “She’s (usually) a super happy kid, she’s rarely seen without a smile on her face.”

Finally, after 198 days, 90 chemotherapy sessions and 16 platelets transfusions, on August 31 doctors told Izzy she was in remission.

Since then her larger than life personality and infectious laugh have returned and her slender frame and pixie-style haircut are the only reminders that she was once sick.

“Probably one of the things she missed most being in hospital (was) being around her brother and sisters,” Mrs Elliott says.

While Mr and Mrs Elliott are relieved Izzy is in remission, there is a 40 per cent chance she could regress.

She will have regular check-ups and if in five years the cancer has not returned, she will be declared cancer free.

The family has been overwhelmed with support from family and friends, including the Aldinga Bay Hockey Club, with which they have been involved for years.

The club will hold a Family Fun Day on Sunday to raise funds for the three organisations – The Little Heroes Foundation, Childhood Cancer Association and Camp Quality – that helped Izzy throughout her treatment.

The event, at the Port Rd sports complex, will start with a hockey tournament called the Izabelle Grace Leukaemia Cup Challenge from 9am to 12.30pm followed by children’s activities from 1pm to 4pm.

Entry costs $10 per family of four or $3 per person.

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