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We are fighters, so we’ll win – Kelly Family

Luca is a fighter and his dad Justin, his super hero. At age 11, Luca has had to live with Covid-type restrictions since before the pandemic, fighting what no child should have to.

In February 2020, Luca went into Canberra Hospital with what seemed like a broken wrist. “In the x-ray, there was nothing wrong but someone at Canberra Hospital was smart enough to look at his blood which wasn’t a normal thing for what we came in for”, said Justin, “it was the leukaemia that was hurting his bones.”

Luca was diagnosed with a very rare combination of cancers, called Philadelphia chromosome - positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and chronic myeloid leukaemia. A combination that had not been seen before in Sydney Children’s Hospital.

Justin had just received the worst news a parent could hear, but he knew that it was up to him to get Luca through this. “My mind was numb, but when I heard that my son had leukaemia, I just went into protection mode”. The very next day they were flown to Sydney to start treatment right away.

For the first few weeks of Luca’s treatment, his family had to rent an apartment until a room at Ronald McDonald House in Randwick became available. Justin knew the charity well and it wasn’t something they expected to ever need, but very glad it was there.

“It saved our lives. You go through the hardest time in taking your kid through cancer. It would be extremely hard to navigate the stress of everything else in life and having to worry about accommodation and food. Not having to worry about those aspects allows you to focus on what you need to focus on”.

And that is what Justin has been able to do. Ronald McDonald House ensures parents can be there for their kids, giving them the chance to feel normal and have the strength to continue on. Luca’s favourite memory at Ronald McDonald House Sydney has been the coin toss. “Stuff like that makes me feel normal for those couple of hours that we get to do that stuff”.

Luca and his dad have been staying at Ronald McDonald House in Randwick since February 2020, never giving up and doing what needs to be done in order to survive. “We are fighters”, says Justin “so we’ll win”. Although Luca’s body is not in the best place, he will soon go through a bone marrow transplant which we are all hoping will give him the best chance to beat the cancer and share his brave and fighting story with others.

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