Call to dig deep for appeal

BREE McAlpine's world was turned upside down when her daughter Millicent was diagnosed with leukemia.

Millicent was just 14 months old and had been at a family gathering when an unusual lump in her cheek was discovered.

"My dad's a GP and he told us to go straight to The Royal Children's Hospital," Ms McAlpine said.

"We're very grateful that we did because within a few hours they'd run all the tests and we had an initial diagnosis which was life-changing."

Ms McAlpine said the leukemia diagnosis came as a complete shock.

Millicent had a series of viruses, a broken arm and had been generally unwell but Ms McAlpine said they hadn't put "two and two together".

"I was in absolute shock in the initial stages," Ms McAlpine said.

"I was in complete denial.

"I was in shock for quite a while and couldn't say the cancer word for some time.

"It took a while for it all to sink in.

"It was just devastating to think your child could be sick, you just never imagine they're going to be given a cancer diagnosis so young with their whole life ahead of them."

Millicent is now two-and-half years old and is doing well.

"Things are good now after nine months of really intensive treatment and lots of ups and downs and lots of time away of home," Ms McAlpine said.

"We found that hard, being from Bendigo because we were either living out of my sister's place in Melbourne or a hotel ... but we were so glad to have relatives in Melbourne and The Royal Children's Hospital so close.

"But it can be a bit tricky being away from home."

Ms McAlpine shared her family's story with the Bendigo Advertiser this week in the lead up to The Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal.

"Although we've experienced a really terrible illness, we are just so lucky to be in Victoria, near The Royal Children's Hospital," she said.

"It's one of the world's leading hospitals and to be so close to it and to be able to access the medical treatment there is amazing.

"We're just unbelievably lucky - their facilities and staff are just world-class.

"Every child deserves a world-class hospital."

The Good Friday Appeal is The Royal Children’s Hospital's largest fundraiser and raised a record $16,405,534.65 last year. You can donate to the 2014 Good Friday Appeal this Friday by calling 9292 1166. 

Bendigo family offers praise for The Royal Children's Hospital

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