Young cancer survivor loses 80 per cent of her skin

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A FOUR-year-old girl who beat cancer, is now fighting a horror infection that caused her to lose 80 per cent of her skin.

Avery Beal’s journey started four years ago, according to her father David Beal, who posted about his daughter’s traumatic experience on GoFundMe.

In August 2014, Avery was just 11 months old when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

The disease, which is a common form of blood cancer, turned the whole family’s world “upside down”.

“Following the diagnosis, Avery was put on a protocol of chemotherapy which ended up leading to a bone-marrow transplant in April 2015,” Mr Beal wrote on the fundraiser page.

“Due to Avery’s young age, throughout this whole period of close to a year, Jen [David’s wife] and Avery were almost permanently living in hospital in Brisbane.

“This was very hard on our family, but we never gave up on each other, and I would visit them with the rest of the kids every weekend while trying to keep as much semblance of normality for the other kids while at home during the week.”

Mr Beal said shortly after receiving news that their youngest daughter was in the all clear following the transplant, the leukaemia returned and she was required to have fortnightly treatments in Brisbane.

“Unfortunately this new protocol also ultimately failed and Avery suffered a total relapse in October 2016,” he wrote.

“Avery was readmitted to the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane this time for another period of seven months.

“This latest round of treatment involved her being one of the first children in Australia to be given a new experimental drug, the goal of which was to get her to a position where she was able to have a second bone marrow transplant.

“This drug had varying levels of success, but ultimately following further additional chemotherapy, and for the first time radiotherapy, Avery was successful in getting to a place where she was able to have a second bone marrow transplant.”

But while the cancer is gone, Avery’s immune system was compromised by the chemotherapy, opening her body up to infection.

“One of the tests that they initially did has come back positive for chickenpox,” his Facebook post read about her current condition.

“Avery’s body after so much chemo and a transplant doesn’t have the ability to fight this off so Avery has been put on medication to help her with this.

“Our other problem is infection. Avery has a high temp so they are thinking there is an infection somewhere but not sure where. We are testing as many different things as possible and she is on lots of different antibiotics to give her good coverage.”

Mr Beal said that while her skin is on the mend, she still has a long road to recovery in hospital.

“Avery has now been admitted into ICU with a dreadful skin infection suspected to be Scalded Skin Syndrome and has lost 80 per cent of her skin,” he said.

“Avery had almost all of her dressings taken off in theatre today and her skin is looking much better than expected.

“We are once again faced with being split apart as a family. Any help you can give us in this traumatic time would be really appreciated.”

To donate, head to Avery’s GoFundMe page.

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