Christmas has always been special for Poppy and mum Fiona, and this year will be even more so as the eight-year-old flicks the switch on the region's community Christmas tree.
The Gin Gin State School student has undergone a number of medical procedures in her short life and has spent more time in hospital than most would in a lifetime.
Poppy has a number of medical conditions including ulcerative colitis, which requires her to have ongoing treatment.
But she is a determined fighter, who wants to live life to the fullest, and she doesn’t let anything hold her back.
On Thursday 1 December Poppy and Fiona will join Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey and the community in turning on the lights of the beautiful Christmas tree in Buss Park during the Twinkle Town event.
“Poppy is absolutely beside herself – she’s so excited about it,” Fiona said.
“We’ve actually never had the chance to see the Christmas tree lit up before, so this really makes it extra special for Poppy.”
Fiona said Poppy’s medical condition was a unique case and wasn’t normally diagnosed until teenage years, but Poppy had already undergone years of treatment much earlier than expected.
“Last week during a telehealth with her specialist Poppy actually spoke up for the first time,” she said.
“Poppy told them all how excited she was to have been chosen to turn on the Christmas tree lights.”
Poppy's medical condition is treatable but not curable and means many trips to the doctors and hospital.
While her condition takes a toll on her emotions and her physical abilities, the health experts at the Bundaberg Hospital and in the Children's Ward have made it much easier through their care and attention.
“It’s been knocking her around a bit lately, but I can tell you the Bundaberg Hospital and the team in the Children’s Ward are fantastic – they treat us like family,” Fiona said.
“Dr Matt Wakely is the Head of Paediatrics and Poppy has been his patient right back from before she was diagnosed.
“They are the ones who nominated Poppy to switch on the Christmas tree lights and we are so grateful for it and really can’t wait.”
The community is invited to come together in Buss Park as Poppy joins Council to officially switch on the Christmas lights in the Bundaberg, Childers and Gin Gin CBDs during the Twinkle Town event, including the large community Christmas tree in Buss Park.
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