Maggie initially felt sick with a sore throat and a headache. And after a trip to her GP, she was diagnosed with tonsillitis.
But later that night, Maggie’s parents, Chantal and Dan Banyard were called and told to take Maggie to the emergency department as her blood tests showed a low white blood cell count.
From there, Maggie was rushed to Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick and the family learnt she actually had cancer.
“We told Maggie she had leukaemia, but she didn’t really understand,” Chantal, Maggie’s mum, told news.com.au.
“Then we said, ‘Maggie you have blood cancer’. She burst into tears and our whole world fell apart.”
“The next few days were a blur,” Maggie’s dad, Dan, said.
“Maggie deteriorated quickly and her white blood cell count was climbing at an alarming rate.”
Maggie has now undergone ten debilitating days of chemotherapy, a lumbar puncture and multiple surgeries to treat her leukaemia but she’s stayed incredibly resilient and positive throughout.
She even shaved her head before she lost it to chemotherapy, so that the loss was on her own terms. Maggie’s parents, brother, Billy and friends have also shaved their heads to support her.
Despite her resilience, Maggie desperately needs to find a stem cell donor (none of her immediate family members are matches) and fast; her life depends on it.
“For a permanent cancer-free diagnosis, Maggie needs a bone-marrow transplant from a perfect match,” Dan said.