Brydee’s leukaemia battle begins, with a little help from some friends

A GROUP of Bendigo mothers are rallying together for close friends whose five-month old daughter was last week diagnosed with leukaemia.

Baby Brydee – the daughter of Skye and Alex Whiteman, of California Gully – was diagnosed with a slow-moving form of leukaemia after it was found she had an enlarged spleen following a check-up.

Peta Thompson has started a fundraising page for the family and raised $1600 in four days, with a target of $5000 to cover some of the family’s costs as they prepare for Brydee’s treatment at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

Ms Thompson, who runs a Bendigo parenting Facebook page, said she was only doing what others would do for her.

“Skye is my best friend and had always been my rock, now it's time to return the favour,” she said.

“My second reason is I don't want Skye or Alex to have to return to work, I want them to remain by baby Brydee's side throughout her journey to recovery.

“And the third reason is Brydee is a little baby, who didn't deserve any of this, and – to put it quite simply – I love her and her family.”

Through her Crazy World of Parenting page, Ms Thompson shared the fundraising effort and within days had already started to receive donations into the hundreds of dollars.

Mum Skye will stay by Brydee’s side throughout treatment in Melbourne, while dad Alex will soon return to Bendigo to continue working.

The couple also has a three-year-old daughter, Allyrah.

Skye was thankful for the support of her friends as they begin the toughest journey of their lives.

It was news no parents could ever imagine hearing.

At the end of more than a month of appointments, Skye and Alex Whiteman sat in a waiting room last Friday, nervous about the diagnosis for their five-month-old daughter Brydee.

Skye said it was almost impossible to describe the pain she felt when she was told her daughter had leukaemia.

“My life kind of crumbled before me, I knew from then that everything had changed,” she said.

“I felt sick to my stomach.”

The diagnosis came after Brydee was taken to Bendigo Health with bronchiolitis – a common chest infection – when doctors noticed she had an enlarged spleen.

The California Gully family couldn’t wait the four to six weeks for their next appointment and took Brydee straight to their GP.

A further referral ended with up to 15 blood tests, before the family received the bad news.

On Tuesday, Brydee underwent a bone marrow biopsy to determine the type of leukaemia she has.

For the family, including three-year-old daughter Allyrah, their journey is only just beginning.

“I’ll be staying by her side, no matter what,” Skye said.

Family members in Melbourne have offered accommodation for the Whitemans, while they are also having meetings with Ronald McDonald House.

Despite the support, the months ahead are likely to be full of challenges for the family.

Skye will be unable to work her job at the Beechworth Bakery, and father Alex will have to continue his concrete polishing work back in Bendigo.

The financial side was the last thing on their minds as they sat by their daughter’s side in Melbourne.

That’s where friend Peta Thompson hopes to lend a helping hand.

Her fundraising page had been shared beyond Bendigo, starting out with friends in their parenting group and extending as far as New Zealand.

The parenting page was where she met Skye.

Ms Thompson said the support had already been amazing.

“I shared the link on the parenting group page, and it just got shared again and again, and now it’s just gone huge,” Ms Thompson said.

“We even got a donation of $200 from a complete stranger.”

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