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'Rock bottom': Family's struggle as daughter, 2, fights for her life

Brianne Tolj
·3-min read

A mum-of-three has opened up about her family’s struggle as one of her daughters hits “rock bottom” in her battle with an aggressive form of blood cancer.

Virginia Carpenter, a 41-year-old Melbourne midwife, said her two-year-old daughter Chloé, who has a twin named Nina, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in early June after she developed what was believed to be a cold.

Ms Carpenter and her partner, Adrien, a 33-year-old chef, we’re told Chloé had to undergo a coronavirus test before visiting her GP so they took her to a nearby hospital.

Virginia Carpenter and Adrien are holding their twin daughters and standing with Ms Carpenter's eight-year-old daughter.
Ms Carpenter and her partner, Adrien, a 33-year-old chef, we’re told Chloé had to undergo a coronavirus test before visiting her GP. Source: supplied
Nina is seen hugging Chloé as she looks at a plant. Source: supplied
For the past week, the two-year-old has been battling high temperatures. Source: supplied

She said Chloé was very lethargic and slept a lot, but doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with her and sent her home.

The couple then took her to the Royal Children’s Hospital, who monitored the two-year-old for a while before discovering a throat infection.

Chloé’s condition didn’t improve and blood tests later confirmed the two-year-old was battling leukaemia.

“It was pretty shocking. I felt like I was being sucked through a vortex. It’s a bit sickening,” Ms Carpenter told Yahoo News Australia while holding Chloé in the hospital on Friday.

The midwife noted the compassionate nature of the doctor who broke the news.

Chloé is pictured sitting in her hospital bed with a tube in her nose. Source: supplied
Chloé underwent numerous invasive tests to confirm her diagnosis before beginning chemotherapy. Source: supplied

“This will be your worst day out of all of this,” Ms Carpenter quoted the doctor, who she said was also crying.

Assured the disease was treatable, Chloé underwent numerous invasive tests to confirm her diagnosis and began chemotherapy.

For the past week, the two-year-old has been battling high temperatures - bringing her total of coronavirus tests to 10 in three months.

“She’s hit rock bottom now after months of intensive treatments,” Ms Carpenter said.

Adrien holds Chloé as she and Nina look at their birthday cake.
Chloé and Nina celebrated their second birthday in isolation. Source: supplied

Chloé will have to undergo treatment until the end of 2022, she said.

Ms Carpenter and Adrien take turns at the hospital, while the other stays home to look after Nina and the 41-year-old’s daughter, 8, from another relationship.

A family friend has created a GoFundMe fundraiser for the couple after the constant care and homeschooling left them unable to work.

Being a chef, Adrien’s hours had already been scaled back because of Victoria’s coronavirus restrictions.

Chloé stares out of her hospital window. Her hair has begun to fall out after chemotherapy. Source: supplied
Chloé will have to undergo treatment until the end of 2022, she said. Source: supplied

The pandemic has also prevented them from being able to see their daughters in hospital at the same time if they have the luck of finding a babysitter.

The couple have also been unable to bring Nina for a visit to see her sister, who she misses terribly, Ms Carpenter said.

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