All 4 One, All 4 Love

When Emma was only two-and-a-half years old, she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL). After completing all but four weeks of two years of treatment it was confirmed she had relapsed. Emma underwent a bone marrow transplant, which resulted in severe graft-versus-host disease (a complication of bone marrow transplantation) and a prolonged protective isolation period of a further two years.

During the four years of treatment, craft and play were Emma’s way of coping. Emma’s mum Jackie and her family were constantly looking for craft ideas and spending money on new crafts and things for her to do. Jackie soon realised the huge role Child Life Therapy played in helping Emma and other sick kids. “Veronica, one of the Children’s Hospital Child Life Therapists made the everyday ‘scary’ parts of Emma’s treatment easier for Emma to cope with,” Jackie said. “Whether it was a port access, dressing change for a central line, cannulas or going in for x-rays and scans, Veronica made it easier for Emma to understand what was happening so it wasn’t scary and unknown.”

The concept for ALL 4 ONE, ALL 4 LOVE was born. It was established to provide support and services to the Children’s Oncology and Haematology Unit at the John Hunter Children’s Hospital. To date over 30 bags of happiness and two iPads have been donated. Bags of happiness are provided to newly diagnosed, relapsed and palliative care children as a distraction and hopefully, a bit of fun, when their world suddenly transforms into a blur of hospital rooms, needles and blood counts.

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