Kiani RCH Patient

Kiani winning the Leukaemia Battle

Bubbly three-year-old Kiani was diagnosed with leukaemia in December 2022 but is receiving the best of care at The Royal Children’s Hospital

Kiani Jarvis is smiling bravely as she fights the battle of her life at The Royal Children’s Hospital.

Nothing could have prepared her parents, Lee and Olivia Jarvis, 15 months ago for the shock diagnosis.

Until then, Kiani seemed to be a happy and healthy toddler, getting into mischief and busily ticking off all the usual childhood milestones.

Out of the blue, she developed a fever here and there, then the odd bruise, then ­unusual bruising on her forehead. So Kiani underwent blood tests.

Two days later her parents were surprised to receive a phone call on a Sunday from a doctor who summoned them urgently to the Royal Children’s emergency department.

Picture: David Caird

Then came the frightening diagnosis no parent wants to hear: “Leukaemia”.

“It was devastating,” Mr Jarvis said. “Fifteen months in, it still brings a tear to our eyes.”

Now the brave three-year-old is at the 15-month point of an arduous three-year chemotherapy schedule.

To her parents’ joy, Kiani’s little body is winning the fight against her leukaemia, albeit with a number of tricky infections and side effects.

“We’ve had to experience things that we never thought we’d ever have to experience as a family, and we’d never wish upon anyone else,” Mr Jarvis said.

“But other days have been amazing – she’s been happy, energetic, eating.”

Kiani loves singing and dancing, and when she’s not in hospital and is feeling well, she’s often up and about at 7.30am on her scooter at home and zooming around outside.

“In terms of beating the leukaemia, it’s going really well and we just hope it stays on that track for the next year and a half of treatment,” Ms Jarvis said.

The Altona Meadows family could not be more grateful for the “above and beyond” care they receive at The Royal Children’s Hospital.

“They’ve saved our daughter’s life,” Mr Jarvis said.

“They’re simply amazing.

“It doesn’t even just come down to the doctors and the nursing staff.

“Tony comes in every morning, cleans the floors, stops by and gives her a wave, gives her a high five, without a beat, every single morning … the reception staff, the kinder program.

“But most importantly, the doctors and nurses know ­exactly what they’re doing, so it couldn’t feel safer.”

The Jarvis family look forward to the day they can leave behind the Royal Children’s for good.

“We’re hoping she’ll have a future like any other child,” Mr Jarvis said.

“Yeah, she’s missing out on a lot, and she’ll continue to miss out on a lot over the next few years, but past treatment we hope she grows up to be a young independent woman.”

Kiani is one of the tens of thousands of children helped every year by the RCH Good Friday Appeal, where every dollar makes a difference.

Written by Jen Kelly
Images by David Caird
Published in the Herald Sun March 4th 2024

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