The parents of a young girl diagnosed with leukemia have been forced to visit their little girl in hospital on separate days after cruel Covid-19 restrictions banned more than one parent from being in the room.
Lara Yaroslavceff, 4, is currently receiving treatment at the Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick after being diagnosed earlier this week.
Her parents Stacey and Matt Yaroslavceff have had to move from Orange, in central-west New South Wales to look after their baby girl – leaving behind their three-year-old and nine-month-old sons.
In a time that has rocked the young family, Ms Yaroslavceff said she and her husband were devastated to learn they couldn’t be by Lara’s bedside together and have instead been taking it in 24-hour shifts.
The rule was only introduced this week following alarming new cases in Sydney with 124 new infections being recorded on Thursday with 48 infectious in the community.
Lara Yaroslavceff, four, (pictured with her parents Matt and Stacey) is currently receiving treatment at the Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick after being diagnosed with leukemia this week
‘One of us gets to go through the emotions of listening to the doctors, dealing with chemotherapy side effects, trying to keep Lara’s emotional well being in check, while the other gets to sit in a hotel room all by themselves with nothing but their thoughts and nowhere to go because we can’t leave,’ she wrote on Facebook.
‘How do we decide who holds her down when she goes into surgery, and who gets to cuddle her when she wakes up?
‘How do I tell Lara mummy or daddy can’t see her? How do Matt and I be there for each other when we’re only allowed 15 minutes a day in the same room?
‘This isn’t a broken leg or a sore finger. This is cancer.’
To make matters worse, since their hometown of Orange has gone into lockdown too, they aren’t able to go back and see their other children from Sydney, and the children can’t travel to them.
Speaking to A Current Affair, Ms Yaroslavceff said on the night before Lara’s first operation, she was upset and wanted her mother but because her dad was already there, she wasn’t allowed to see her.
Lara’s parents Stacey and Matt Yaroslavceff have had to move from Orange, in central-west New South Wales to look after their baby girl – leaving behind their three-year-old and nine-month-old sons (pictured is the family together)
The four-year-old has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and has needed urgent surgery
‘She had a bad night last night and just wanted mummy and daddy had to say ”mummy’s not allowed to come”,’ she said.
Then on Thursday morning, Mr Yaroslavceff had to go and wait in his hotel room within the Ronald McDonald house near the hospital while his wife held Lara’s hand as she went into surgery.
‘She’s definitely struggling not having both of us there,’ he told the Channel 9 program.
‘For us especially, just 200 metres away looking out the window, I can see the hospital.
‘We’re not going off-site, we’re not going into the community, we can’t go home because that’s three or four hours away so we’re literally on-site and swapping, so that doesn’t seem to make sense.’
But in one bout of positive news for the family, NSW Health have since given Lara’s parents an exemption meaning both can now visit her in hospital.
A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help the family financially while Lara faces months of medical treatment.
The little girl will have to undergo six months of intense chemotherapy followed by an additional 18 months of further treatment
Her parents will stay by her side in Sydney for the foreseeable future while their two young sons remain in Orange
An update to the page revealed Lara’s surgery on Thursday confirmed she has acute lymphoblastic leukaemia which is the most common form of the cancer and one of the most curable.
The little girl will have to undergo six months of intense chemotherapy followed by an additional 18 months of further treatment.
‘We will stay in Sydney for the foreseeable future. Lockdowns prevent us from bringing our two boys down with us, but when we can we will,’ her parents wrote on the fundraiser.
WHAT IS LEUKAEMIA?
Leukaemia is a cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue, usually the bone marrow.
It leads to the over-production of abnormal white blood cells, which fight off infections.
But a higher number of white blood cells means there is ‘less room’ for other cells, including red blood cells – which transport oxygen around the body – and platelets – which cause blood to clot when the skin is cut.
There are many different types of leukaemia, which are defined according to the immune cells they affect and how the disease progresses.
Most cases have no obvious cause, with the cancer not being contagious or inherited.
Leukaemia generally becomes more common with age – the exception being acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which peaks in children.
Other risk factors include being male, exposed to certain chemicals or radiation, and some bone-marrow disorders.
Symptoms are generally vague and get worse over time.
These can include:
- Frequent infections
- Heavy periods, nose bleeds or bleeding gums
- Shortness of breath
Acute leukaemia – which progresses rapidly and aggressively – is often curable via chemo, radiotherapy or a stem cell transplant.
Chronic forms of the disease – which typically progress slowly – tend to be incurable, however, these patients can often live with the disease.
Parents forced to visit daughter with leukemia on different shifts amid Sydney’s Covid crisis