The families that are fighting now need to hear the good stories. I craved those stories; they gave me hope.Belinda, Natalia's mum
19-month-old Natalia was feverish and had ulcers, which mum Belinda thought was normal - but when she saw blood around Natalia's mouth and bruising on her back, she feared it was more than just teething.
Not just teething
Belinda noticed bruising on Natalia's back and upper arms, a lump on the side of her head and a large white ulcer in her mouth. One morning Natalia woke up with bleeding gums.
At first I put it down to teething, then I thought she might have a vitamin deficiency - but different symptoms kept appearing.
Belinda took Natalia to three different doctors, who thought she may have a virus or a haematoma. Eventually they went to emergency at the Children's Hospital at Westmead.
The triage nurse took one look at Natalia and told us to come straight through.
Cancer in her blood
A doctor came in, closed the door and told Belinda and her husband Tony that Natalia had cancer in her blood. The pair wailed uncontrollably.
Each year, around 150 Australian children and almost as many adults are diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, which is a type of blood cancer. It is also the most common form of cancer in children.
I couldn't look at Nat at the time. I couldn't associate her with cancer.
Natalia had an emergency blood transfusion that evening and a bone marrow aspiration the following morning. Her central line was put in and later that day it was confirmed she had Type B acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
A social worker said to me "This will be your home for the next two years." That's when it really hit home - I had no idea treatment lasted for that long.
Natalia's treatment started straight away and she underwent nine months of intense chemo. Her hair fell out slowly and she became so weak she stopped walking.
When her hair started falling out, I grabbed the clippers and shaved her head. All of a sudden, my daughter was the image I had in my mind of a child with leukaemia.
A little brother
Two days before Natalia's central line was removed, her little brother Lucas was born. Throughout her pregnancy, Belinda didn't know how she'd cope when he arrived. She was terrified he'd get sick too. Lucas was born covered in tiny spots called petechiae, which had been one of Natalia's symptoms before she was diagnosed. Thankfully, it turned out to be nothing serious - Lucas was a happy, healthy baby.
18 months of maintenance followed for Natalia, which consisted of oral chemo at home and trips to the hospital twice per week. As the hospital visits became less frequent, Belinda became more worried - the hospital had been her comfort zone.
Our researchers recently made an important step towards a 100% survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, with the latest findings of a trial confirming the superiority of a chemotherapy drug for treating the disease.
Currently, the survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in children is close to nine out of 10. We want to increase this to 10 out of 10.
Natalia passed her 5-year remission milestone in May 2015. Now nine, she loves school, arts and playing with animals - in fact, she just got a new puppy! Belinda is about to graduate as a nurse.