Toogoom mum and daughter Kim and Olivia, 5, Heckels. Olivia was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia when she was four-months-old.
Toogoom mum and daughter Kim and Olivia, 5, Heckels. Olivia was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia when she was four-months-old. Alistair Brightman

Olivia has bravely fought leukemia her whole life

POP into your local Woolworths and you might just find a pretty little blonde angel staring down at you from posters on the wall.

That impish grin and those laughing blue eyes belong to one of the Fraser Coast's bravest children - Olivia Heckels.

The five-year-old Hervey Bay lass was just four months old when doctors discovered she had acute myeloid leukemia.

A fortuitous trip to the doctor when a rash dotted across Olivia's four-month-old body ended with a mad dash to the Brisbane Children's Hospital.

"We were scared," Olivia's mum Kim Heckels recalled.

"At that point it was just shock - I was thinking I just have to hold my baby."

Olivia's battle for life was made harder when three types of influenza, including swine flu, and two other viruses invaded her fragile body.

By her first birthday Olivia was well on her way to notching up 1000 medical procedures including countless gruelling chemotherapy sessions.

Finally the doctors declared her in remission.

Her mother, her dad Ashley and her brothers William and Alistair could at last breathe a sigh of relief.

Four years later though, the family knows Olivia is not quite out of the woods with the cancer able to return in a heartbeat.

"Every child is so different so we don't know if the cancer will return," Ms Heckels said.

Olivia is one of Lady Cilento Children's Hospital's poster kids.

Her brave story of survival is used to promote the hospital and its work and help other youngsters and their families realise even the toughest battles can be won.

So far she's been the face of the Children's Hospital Foundation Queensland's Bravery Beads program and fundraisers through the Bank of Queensland and Woolworths.

 

- APN NEWSDESK


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