Gisborne family living 'every parent's worst nightmare'

Two and a half year old Brya Bickford has been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

Two and a half year old Brya Bickford has been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

The Bickford family was three weeks into a new life in the country when their nightmare began.

Settling into their new Gisborne home after a move from Whangaparaoa, Erin and Steven Bickford noticed their two and a half year old daughter Brya was feeling fatigued.

A fever and rash developed and, following a trip to the GP, she was rushed to Gisborne Hospital for tests.

Leukaemia was suspected, and the family was told to get Brya to Starship Hospital.

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"Every parent's worst nightmare was happening to us. Our hearts sank - we gasped in shock," Erin said.

"My initial thought was what had I done wrong... was it something I did as a mother that caused it? We were told it was just bad luck, one of those things."

The first week was hectic, stressful and tiring, Erin says, with Brya going into theatre three times.

"Never before had she been in theatre so even this was scary for us," she said.

Brya was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, or ALL.

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"To hear your child has cancer and will need chemo is the scariest thing in the world. I couldn't believe this was happening to us," Erin said.

"Whilst we were being told the worst news you could receive as a parent, we were also being advised that the type she had had a great curable outcome.

"With this news we were keeping positive and strong and concentrating on keeping Brya happy, comfortable and healthy."

Doctors aim to get Brya into remission over the next month, and continue with treatment for the next two years.

"It will be a long road to recovery but that is what we are concentrating on; recovery," Erin said.

The family has been blown away by the support of family, friends, volunteers and charities.

They give their thanks to Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand, Ronald McDonald House, Bellyful, Whangaparaoa Playcentre, Coast Kindy, Party Kingdom and Mitre 10 Whangaparaoa for support and fundraising.

Visit for more information or to help.

 - Rodney Times

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