Three-year-old girl’s 'tonsillitis' leads to horror diagnosis

Nadine Carroll
·2-min read

When Keli and Luke O’Mahoney from the Gold Coast took their daughter to hospital with what they thought was tonsillitis two weeks ago they weren’t expecting a diagnosis that would turn their lives upside down.

Three-year-old Arlee had an ear infection and was unable to “shake a few nasty viruses” over the past month that left her parents concerned something more serious could be wrong.

Ms O’Mahoney shared on Facebook that Arlee had been rushed to Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane where she faced “long days” of uncertainty until tests showed her daughter had acute myeloid leukaemia.

Three-year-old Arlee O’Mahoney.
Three-year-old Arlee O’Mahoney (pictured) was taken to hopsital with suspected tontilities, now she is fighting a rare form of leukaemia. Source: GoFundMe

The rare form of the disease carries a 60 to 70 percent treatment rate and explained why Arlee had been so unwell in the months leading up to the diagnosis.

“It’s not one of the better ones to have,” Ms O’Mahoney told 7News.

“Because her white and red blood counts were so low, they couldn’t fight the common things she was picking up, probably just from kindy."

Family 'staying positive' after horror diagnosis

Treatment began immediately following the diagnosis and Ms O’Mahoney wrote on Facebook that the family is staying positive.

“We are taking each day as it comes. Our Arlee is so strong, kind and brave.

“We know she can beat this and will have an amazing support unit with all our families and friends.”

Arlee O’Mahoney (left) and with her family (right).
Arlee's Army has been set up on GoFundMe to help the O’Mahoney family (right) focus on spending time with Arlee (left) while she is in treatment. Source: GoFundMe

Family friends set up a GoFundMe page called Arlee’s Army to help support Arlee’s treatment and cover expenses as her parents take time off work to spend with their daughter. The page has so far raised over $21,000.

“Unfortunately, life expenses do not stop when a child is sick. Arlee will have long and frequent hospital admissions, so Luke and Kelli will be constantly between the Royal Children’s hospital and their home in Coomera over the next 12 months,” the page reads.

On April 6 Ms O’Mahoney shared on Facebook that her daughter was already “half way through her first chemo treatment and is handling it so well.”

“She already has all the staff here at Queensland Children’s hospital wrapped around her finger. We have a tough road ahead, but we are so lucky to have you all on our team,” she wrote.

“Life is truly unfair at times but we know that our Arlee is so strong and can fight this.”

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