Young cancer survivor loses 80 per cent of skin in devastating health setback

WARNING, DISTRESSING CONTENT: A little girl who has been in a four-year battle with cancer is dealing with her latest setback after losing 80 per cent of her skin.

Sunshine Coast four year old Avery Beal has battled more health problems in her short life than some people face in a lifetime.

In a GoFundMe page set up to help support the family, Avery's father David Beal writes about the long journey they have been on since 2014.

It was then, when she was just 11 months old, that Avery was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, which Mr Beal said “turned our lives upside down”.

“Since then our whole family has been on a long journey with big ups and big downs, that is still not close to being over,” he wrote.

Mr Beal, a father of six, wrote that his wife, Jen, and their little girl had to live almost permanently out of hospital in Brisbane while Avery received treatment.

“Following the diagnosis, Avery was put on a protocol of chemotherapy which ended up leading to a bone marrow transplant in April 2015," Mr Beal writes.

Avery Beal, 4, has been in a battle with cancer since she was 11 months old. Source: Facebook/ Support for Avery's Journey

Avery was soon given the all clear, but in August 2015 the family were told her leukaemia had returned.

This time it was "less invasive", and Avery was able to make fortnightly visits from her home to Brisbane.

But in October 2016, Avery suffered a “total relapse” after treatments failed.

She was admitted to Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, where she stayed for seven months.

Mr Beal wrote his little girl was given an experimental drug in order to receive a second bone marrow transplant in March 2017, after which she appeared to be clear of all cancer cells.

But unfortunately, earlier this month she was re-admitted to the ICU with what her father describes as a “dreadful skin condition suspected to be Scalded Skin Syndrome”.

He added his little girl has had 80 per cent of her skin removed.

Avery gets airlifted to Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in April. Source: Facebook/ Support for Avery's Journey
The little girl was also diagnosed with chickenpox on Sunday. Source: Facebook/ Support for Avery's Journey

On April 14, the family shared a photograph of little Avery after numerous re-dressings of her wounds, showing her wrapped in bandages from the neck down.

“We can only see her face and one patch on her hip a little bigger than a 50 cent coin, other than that she is covered in burns dressings,” they wrote.

They added that the hospital was trying to get Avery off a ventilator but were “not confident” she would be able to breathe without assistance.

The four-year-old has lost 80 per cent of her skin. Source: Facebook/ Support for Avery's Journey
Avery in hospital earlier this month. Source: Facebook/ Support for Avery's Journey

To make matters worse, on Sunday, the family wrote their little girl had been diagnosed with chickenpox.

“Avery’s body after so much chemo and a transplant doesn’t have the ability to fight this off so Avery has been put on medication to help her with this,” they wrote.

“Our other problem is infection. Avery has a high temp so they are thinking there is an infection somewhere but not sure where. We are testing as many different things as possible and she is on lots of different antibiotics to give her good coverage.”

Her father wrote on the GoFundMe page that Avery’s battle with cancer, and the constant travel between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, had resulted in a deeply “traumatic" time for the family.

With Avery still in Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, "we are once again faced with being split apart as a family," Mr Beal wrote.

Avery dressed in bandages from her toes to her neck. Source: Facebook/ Support for Avery's Journey

If you would like to help Avery and her family, click here.