Tracy and Andrew Chow's little angel Leila Rose may be in Heaven, but her spirit lives on. "She's still here to us," Tracy said.
The gorgeous little girl lost her battle with a rare form of cancer, Rhabdoid Tumor, when she was just 21 months old on September 12, 2010. Leila was just 10 months old when she was diagnosed and she underwent rounds and rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, a major operation and took various other drugs. "She had a lump in her neck, which we thought was an absess but it turned out to be cancer," Tracy said. "She had a round of chemo because it was affecting her airways. They didn't know if she would come out of it or not."
Andrew, a doctor from Warrnambol in Victoria, decided to seek answers from around the world and specialists from Germany, France and the US offered treatment options. Tracy said while Leila lost her battle, the couple believed they had precious extra months with her because of the additional treatments.
"In the end we were doing chemo at home, which was great because she loved being at home," Tracy said. The couple was inspired to help other families whose children were diagnosed with rare cancers get the help they need.
"We wanted to keep her name alive and help other families as well," Tracy said. The Leila Rose Foundation was launched on December 4, 2011, which would have been Leila's third birthday. "One tier of help we offer is with general household bills and the second tier of help is for medical help," Tracy said. "We've helped two families so far and we hope to help more families."
Tracy's face lights up when she talks about Leila, who loved Playschool and was always smiling, despite her battle. "She loved Playschool, I think Playschool got her through every treatment," she said. She also loved cows, which makes one of the foundation's fund-raisers even more fitting.
Grow it ... Give it asks primary producers to consider donating a steer, vealer, heifer, a cull cow, a sheep or lamb or a heifer calf, boat heifer or cull calf to raise funds for the foundation. Tracy said Leila loved playing outside and her sister Bella, 6, and brothers Adam, 15, Tom, 17, and James, 19, always made her smile.
The foundation is also hosting two big events in Melbourne to raise funds. The Family Fun Day on Saturday, November 24 will include an animal farm, jumping castles, acrobatics, the Nova Star stilt walkers, balloon art, face painting, a kids beauty salon, food stalls and live entertainment. That night there will be a Touch of Pink gala event.
The Family Fun Day will be held at Kostka Hall at Xavier College and the Touch of Pink Gala Event will be held at Beachcomber Cafe in St Kilda.
You can purchase a family ticket for the family fun day for $50 and tickets to the gala event cost $100 - which includes unlimited drinks, canapes, music and dancing.
To purchase a ticket to either event call Vicky on 0417 880 304.
For more information visit http://www.leilarosefoundation.org