When Amanda Richens’ 2-year old son Zac was sent home from the GP diagnosed with a bacterial infection, she knew in her gut it was something more.
“I just knew there was something more sinister going on and within hours I had him at Emergency as his skin was covered in bruising and he was vomiting and getting very lethargic,” Amanda said.
The medical team ran a series of blood tests and the following morning when the results came back, Amanda and Zac’s lives changed forever.
“I’ll never forget sitting next to my baby in that hospital bed seeing the head of oncology walking towards me with a team of specialists and nursing managers around him – they told me that Zac had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia and life as we knew it changed in that instant,” she said.
That was in 2004. Four years later young Zac was given the all clear and this week (12th of December) he’ll celebrate 7 years in remission.
The milestone also marks another special occasion.
“We were living in Brisbane throughout this time but I had always holidayed at Coolum as a child and loved the idea of living there one day,” Amanda said.
“Just weeks following Zac’s diagnosis of full remission, my partner and I brought the kids up to the Sunshine Coast and asked them what they thought about living here for good – and it was a done deal!”
“The Sunshine Coast has offered us all a healthy and happy lifestyle that’s changed our lives, but for the better,” Amanda said.
Amanda is now the National Manager for her start-up business ‘My Carrot – Life Enhancing Solutions’ that has donated a $700 ‘Home Edge Kinetic Water Energiser’ system to The House The Coast Built for auction.
“The Home Edge is a filterless water purification and filtration machine that is a simple attachment to any home plumbing system that helps to deliver soft, natural, highly energized water which helps to eliminate toxins from the body and hydrate you faster,” she said.
“After all our family has been through, maintaining our personal health is so important to us and if we can offer that to another family by supporting The House The Coast Built – then that’s a total gift.”
Zac is no stranger to fundraising efforts, raising up to $15,000 for the Leukaemia Foundation each year.
“The road that we’ve all travelled with Zac is one I wouldn’t wish on any other family, but today he is a healthy, happy, active 13 year old boy who has a generosity of spirit that blows me away every day,” Amanda said.
“I truly believe that you’re only dealt with what you can deal with – but the support of foundations like Wishlist make the tough times just that little bit easier.”
Wishlist and Ausmar Homes are leading more than 60 local suppliers and contractors who are donating their time and resources to The House The Coast Built at no cost. The home will be fully furnished and auctioned off on the 14th of February, 2016 and all proceeds will be spent on paediatric needs across the Coast.