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The story behind cherub face of fun run

Ollie Siney with his brother Dylan

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The story behind cherub face of fun run

A Sunshine Coast family tells why the funds our Wishlist charity raises each year are so important for our hospitals.

With his cheeky grin and fun-loving nature, you would never know Ollie has spent the past year fighting a type of blood cancer.

Just five days after welcoming their second-born Dylan, Sunshine Coast parents Alena and Hayden Siney were told their two-year-old son Ollie had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL): a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.

“There were a few signs of swelling before Dylan was born: Ollie’s eyes were puffy and he got a few bruises on his legs,” Ms Siney says.

“The first two years of his life, he was super healthy and energetic, so it was surprising to see something was not right with him.

“When his newborn brother was five days old, Ollie was transferred to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH) to do a complete check-up and that very day, he was diagnosed with leukaemia.

“We never imagined this illness would touch us, especially at one of the happiest times of our lives.”

Ms Siney says Ollie was transferred to the Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane for his first month of treatment, as the family began balancing caring for a sick child and a newborn.

Ollie’s treatment schedule included six doses of chemotherapy for two weeks and multiple trips to Brisbane.

“There were shorter days but sometimes we travelled from 5am until 7pm. It was exhausting for us, but more for the kids,” Ms Siney says.

“We’ll never forget when our little Ollie stopped walking, talking, eating, even smiling for a week as a result of his treatment at the early stages.”

Step by step, Ollie’s spark returned and he slowly became the observant, resourceful and affectionate boy he was before treatment.

“One of the happiest days of our lives was seeing his gorgeous smile again,” Ms Siney says.

One year on, Ollie is now three and in remission. His hair is growing back and he loves playing with his diggers in the yard while wearing his favourite gumboots.

Ms Siney says regular trips to SCUH as part of a maintenance phase until September next year are made a little easier, thanks to the work of Wishlist.

“Ollie and Dylan enjoy visiting the hospital because there is always entertainment,” she says.

“The Clown Doctors are fabulous and Ollie loves seeing them. We are always playing with the big interactive screen, too. We honour hospital foundations like Wishlist because it makes this journey so much smoother for our children.

“From a family who has spent a lot of time in hospital, we appreciate those resources.”

To help the charity continue its work, Ollie will be the face of this year’s Wishlist Fun Run, which takes place on October 16 at Lake Kawana.

Now in its fourth year, the event is fun for schools, families, individuals and corporate team building, with 2.5, 5 or 10-kilometre distances. Register to run, walk or team up at wishlist.org.au.

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