Community members are invited to support the second Ride for William to help a local family while their infant daughter Marliah Eastment undergoes treatment for cancer.
The annual charity ride honours William Wheeler who tragically lost his battle with cancer last December.
William’s story touched the heart of the Bundaberg community, which rallied together to help grant the two-year-old a few final wishes before he passed away.
William’s mum Lauren Wheeler and family friend Jasmine Harris started the charity Wish Upon a Star to help support other local families going through similar situations.
On the anniversary of William’s passing Lauren and Jasmine heard about Marliah Eastment, who at just six weeks of age was diagnosed with rare juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML).
According to the Leukaemia Foundation, JMML accounts for less than 1 per cent of all childhood leukaemia diagnosed in the United States.
Marliah Eastment diagnosed with rare condition
Marliah’s parents Tash and Blayne Eastment’s lives were thrown into chaos, and with two other children, Jaxson, 6, and Isabella, 4, they are now hoping the community can help.
“At nine weeks we were rushed down to Brisbane due to her white blood count rising too much,” Tash said.
“It was then that they decided to do a bone marrow aspiration. The results confirmed that she does have JMML.
“The plan was to start chemo, but due to it being such a rare leukemia the specialists in Germany have said that she is still too little, and she could die from it.”
Tash said after another trip to Brisbane they met with doctors, and they have put a plan into action to start weekly blood tests and check-ups until more can be done.
“Luckily her blood count went down a little while there, so we were able to go home,” Tash said.
“The plan of action now is weekly blood tests to check her levels are okay until she is big enough to handle chemo and once chemo has started, they will be doing a bone marrow transplant after.
“The treatment for this leukemia is chemo one week of every month through IV for minimum three to six months before a transplant can happen – so we are in for a long road – all down in Brisbane because Bundy isn't very educated in this leukemia.”
Tash said fortunately Marliah isn't showing signs of sickness yet and doctors are keeping a close eye on her blood counts and making sure her liver and spleen don't get too big.
“The moment her levels get too high again we will be straight back down to Brissy to start everything,” Tash said.
“It's been a tough time due to us having two other children to worry about as well as Marliah.
“But we are getting there and have had lots of support.”
Ride for William will raise money to help support the Eastment family while Marliah undergoes treatment.
“We have organised the ride under Wish Upon a Star, and this is the second event we will be doing under this banner, we did Dice 4 Dash during the year,” Jasmine said.
“The charity will have more events in 2022 to raise money for Lauren’s dream of having memory kits in hospitals for families who lose a child suddenly or from terminal illness.”
Ride for William supporting Marliah
Ride for William will be held on Sunday, 30 January 2022, starting at CQUniversity and finishing at The Club Hotel, on Bourbong Street.
Jasmine said participants could ride or drive and, while the official route would be released closer to the day, it would include the coast.
Registrations start at 8 am, $20pp (children no cost) with stand-up at 9 am, cars and bikes welcome.
“Last year we had such a huge turnout of cars, trucks and bikes,” Jasmine said.
“The community has supported these events wonderfully and we hope they can do the same again for Marliah Eastment and her family.
“All proceeds raised will go directly to the family.
“We are asking local businesses or individuals to contact us if they would like to donate towards the raffle prizes for the day.”
To find out more click here.