Maddison Hussey decorating the hospital's tree. Image Supplied
Four-year-old Maddison Hussey has endured more than any four-year-old girl should have to this year, being diagnosed suddenly in April with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and undergoing four cycles of gruelling chemotherapy.
Thursday will mark a new chapter for Maddison, who has now completed her treatment and will help officially mark the start of the festive season at the Townsville Hospital by placing the first Townsville Hospital Foundation ornament on the Christmas tree.
Mum to Maddison Anika Hussey said that after a difficult year it would be a beautiful moment for Maddison who relished Christmas.
“Maddison talks about Christmas all year long and she idolises Santa,” she said.
“Maddison was diagnosed in The Townsville Hospital emergency department in April and was on a plane the very next day to commence six months of specialist treatment in Brisbane.
“It was really tough; coming from Townsville and being uprooted to a big city where my Mum and I were there for Maddison during each 10-day chemo cycle and the 28-day hospital admissions that followed.
“Despite having a very serious illness, Maddison remained her crazy little self; she was a very content and happy little girl. I’m not sure she fully understood what she was faced with and I know placing the first ornament on the tree will bring her joy.”
Townsville Hospital Foundation general manager Judy Higgins-Olsen said she was delighted to have Maddison’s help putting the ornament onto the tree.
“The ornaments can be purchased for $2 by hospital visitors and will raise funds to make a difference to patients like Maddison and their families,” she said.
“The Christmas trees featured on each of the ornaments were created by local children who were cared for in the hospital’s children’s ward and they were made with a lot of love and care. “
Anika said the marking the start of the Christmas with The Townsville Hospital was symbolic for her family.
“For us it is a sign of moving forward with life; we don’t want cancer to define Maddison and wish her to have a normal life,” she said.
“We hope that completing her treatment and celebrating her favourite time of year that things will be easier on her.
“We want to see 2018 out and celebrate how far we’ve come while looking forward to 2019 which we hope healthy and happy for us all.”
Townsville Hospital and Health Service Board Chair Tony Mooney said he hoped the Christmas tree would put a smile on the face of patients and visitors at the hospital just like Maddison and her Mum.
“Christmas is a special time for most people and it should be no different for those who celebrate it in our hospital,” he said.
“I’m happy that we are partnering with the Townsville Hospital Foundation during this festive season to help raise funds to help improve the patient experience in our hospital.
“The Townsville Hospital Foundation does a fantastic job providing extra comforts to complement the hospital’s exceptional care and we are grateful for their hard work.”