8:30AM Tuesday February 19, 2008
By Simon Woods
Michael Laws says it will be a "miracle" if his critically ill three-year-old daughter Lucy survives.
Mr Laws took indefinite leave from his Wanganui mayoralty after Lucy was taken to Auckland's Starship Children's Hospital on February 10.
Lucy is suffering from a rare combination of leukaemia and fungal disease aspergillosis and her chances of survival are rated slim at best.
"There is a 10 per cent chance of her pulling through, and the danger is now," Mr Laws said yesterday.
"If she can get to the end of this month, we will be a little bit better."
Mr Laws said there was little he or his partner, Leonie Brookhammer, could do to help Lucy, except spend as much time with her as possible.
He said support from people around the country had kept their spirits high.
"To all the people who sent us messages or cards, thank you. They really do work for us at this time in our lives.
"They've had a significant impact on our morale."
Messages of support had poured in steadily from Wanganui residents of all walks of life, including Lucy's friends at Busy Bee Preschool."People in Wanganui have been so good to us."
Meanwhile, Lucy's health continues to vary, although Mr Laws said she was looking slightly happier yesterday.
"It's incredible. If you were to look at her now, you might not think anything's wrong."
But her condition is serious.
Lucy's doctors know of only one other example of a child suffering from leukaemia and the specific fungal infection, aspergillosis, at the same time.
"The treatment is experimental. Usually they treat either the leukaemia or the fungus but they can't afford to choose one because they're both life-threatening. They need to treat both at the same time," Mr Laws said.
"She couldn't contract anything simple, she had to go and contract one of the rarest combinations out there."
Lucy has been prescribed at least half a dozen different drugs, including steroids, to fight the leukaemia, and is getting regular blood transfusions.
"She had literally no white blood cells."
Compounding the situation, Lucy's younger sister Zoe had unknowingly been in contact with someone suffering from chicken pox.
This means Lucy will not be able to see her for two weeks, because of the risk of infection.
"It makes things hard because they're very, very, very close," Mr Laws said.
And Lucy herself has no idea how serious things are.
"She thinks she's just not well and she's in hospital. We haven't really spoken to her about what's happening.
"We need a miracle, and I ask for people to pray for Lucy. She's my golden girl and ever since she's appeared she's been the light in my life."
Mr Laws has previously been involved in raising money for cancer research, selecting the Cancer Society as his chosen charity when taking part in the Dancing With The Stars television show last year.
- WANGANUI CHRONICLE, with NZPA