Saturday, February 23, 2008

Odds improve for brave little Lucy

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5:00AM Sunday February 24, 2008
By Michelle Coursey
This picture of Lucy Laws eating spaghetti at Starship was posted on

This picture of Lucy Laws eating spaghetti at Starship was posted on

Wanganui mayor Michael Laws says his dangerously ill daughter's chances of survival are improving but she's not safe yet.

Laws and his partner Leo Brookhammer have been keeping a bedside vigil for almost two weeks while 3-year-old Lucy fights leukaemia, a fungal disease and pneumonia. Yesterday he told the Herald on Sunday she was "not out of the woods".

But on Friday, he announced through his website that a CT scan, lumbar puncture, and bone marrow biopsy had raised Lucy's chances of survival "from 10-20 per cent to 50 per cent-plus". "It may not be a miracle yet... but it is certainly headed in that direction."

Wanganui-born Laws, who has been mayor of the city for four years, announced on February 11 he was taking indefinite leave.

He and Brookhammer flew to Auckland's Starship hospital where Lucy has been through a barrage of treatments and tests.

Laws has written regular updates on her condition on his website and posted pictures of her in hospital.e time/space continuum where nothing else happens except in this room, in this ward and in this hospital," Laws wrote on Tuesday.

"I've caught up with little outside news except that the Waiouru medals were returned and Wanganui has finally received some rain. That's good - Lucy's return to health could complete the trilogy."

Laws has also used the blog to thank people for their prayers for Lucy, and detailed visits by her godfather Norm Hewitt and Wanganui deputy mayor Dot McKinnon.

"Leo and I are very tired now," Laws wrote last Thursday, after a CT scan showed the aspergillus fungal infection was not as prominent as the previous week.

"We're in a war - like all the parents on this ward. Tomorrow will be another battle, another skirmish, another fight and so will the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that. Our little girl is the principal combatant, we are the support staff."

Photos of Lucy show her eating and watching a movie in a room decorated with toys, pictures and bright blankets, with Laws calling her a "brave, spunky little girl".

Tests on Thursday showed that Lucy's leukaemia was easing and while the acute pneumonia was still present, it was looking "less harsh than last week".

"In addition, she looks well and the steroids have ensured she eats well. We are not out of the woods and she is still fighting two life-threatening diseases but... but the odds are now Lucy's and not some statistical freak."

McKinnon, who has been acting mayor since Laws went on leave, told the Herald on Sunday she was amazed at the number of well-wishers in Wanganui.

"People all want to know how she is... everywhere I go people are asking. The community has really rallied around for this."

She said Laws and Brookhammer seemed to be "taking turns at being strong", and Laws rang her and his personal assistant daily to update them on Lucy's status.

Every day a prayer meeting was held for Lucy and people were writing messages on a scroll, hoping for further improvement. "Let's hope it continues," she said.

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