Every day is a blessing for the family of six-year-old Linke.
It was only three years ago that the family were living in South Africa on an isolated, rural property, and their beloved Linke got pneumonia which no antibiotic seemed to help. When test results came in, Rene was told to drive straight to the nearest hospital - four hours away. It was soon revealed that Linke had leukemia.
She was given chemotherapy for six months but, just before Christmas, the family was told that there was nothing else doctors could do. Instead of accepting this, Rene sent 130 emails to doctors around the world. Just 12 hours later, she got a response from a doctor in Sydney who told her to get on a plane.
The next day, Linke, who is an Australian citizen, was put on a clinical trial and by the end of the first month she was in remission.
“I completely, completely believe that if it wasn't for her doctor and the trial chemotherapy that he was able to provide for her, that we wouldn't have her today,’’ Rene said. “It needs to be explained to all the people who haven't been on this journey what research has given us. It's given her back to me.
“I see life in a total different way. I'm thankful for the smallest things, even the naughty bits. Every day in the life of Linke is remarkable. Just the way she jumps up and does a ballet turn, and a little curtsy afterwards, the thankfulness you have towards that is just…it's an everyday thing.’’
“The thing with CMRI and the research that goes on in Australia, it's on such a high level, but we don't all know about it,’’ Rene said. “If we did, we'd just go ‘I probably won't buy that coffee today, I'll hold out.’ To me research is important because it gives children a chance. It gives them that fair chance at life. Research makes the difference, research gives them a longer life, or a chance at having a normal life."
“You often get people who say, ‘oh what can we do to help?’ The biggest and the smallest thing you can do is to donate towards research. Research means so much to me. It's given my child a life. It's given me the privilege of being a mum to the most beautiful girl that you can imagine.’’