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Imagine this...

You are a lively 8 year old girl, enjoying your school holidays and spending quality time with family and friends. You get in the car to head to Sydney for your regular scans hoping for good news. Your mum and dad look anxious in the front seat but keep their spirits high so you don’t find out how terrified they really are. Your mum knows every signpost, tree and rest area, and has counted the wind turbines at Lake George more times than she cares to admit, having spent the last five years doing this trip on a far too regular basis.

You cannot keep count of the number of times you have been to Sydney for scans but mum said you have to keep having them just in case the cancer has returned.  Mum and Dad seemed pretty happy about my progress since we returned from Germany last February but I know that this is always a nervous time for them although I feel much better since they took me off chemotherapy.   The routine at SCH is just like last time but I know that it’s not good when after the scans, the glum- faced Doctor calls them aside and wants to chat privately.   No good news ever comes out of this sort of meeting.

It’s back! My mum and dad are crying and asking lots of questions and I keep telling them that I’m going to be OK. But then I realise, I don’t want to lose my hair again, I don’t want to get sick from chemo – I just want to go back to school and be with my friends...

Meet Olivia Lambert... amazing and brave little girl who has had to deal with more in her first 8 years than most of us could endure in a lifetime. Delivered on 15 January 2004 at 30 weeks because her mum had cancer and needed major surgery and chemotherapy, Olivia spent a difficult few weeks in a humidicrib.  A little fighter she was then but no one could have imagined that these fighting qualities would be tested to the full in the early years of her life.  

Olivia was an active and healthy little girl until at 2 years of  age, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare and very aggressive cancer of the nervous system.   Given little chance of survival, she ‘kicked it in the butt’ not only once but three times.  Her chances of survival are less than 1% unless a cure can be found.

While the only option for Olivia in Australia was  palliative chemotherapy, a new antibody therapy in Germany offered new hope for this little girl’s survival.   Unlike chemotherapy and radiation, the ch14.18 monoclonal antibody is a new kind of cancer therapy that targets the destruction of cancer cells without destroying nearby healthy cells.    It was hoped that Olivia’s own immune system would be able to kill residual tumour cells with the help of the antibody.

Sadly, after five months of treatment in Germany, the ch14.18 antibody therapy was found not be working because of Olivia's degraded immune system.   More cycles of chemotherapy in Australia followed but just three days after Olivia's 8th birthday, scans revealed that she had again relapsed.

There is no cure for neuroblastoma but hope for Olivia's continuing survival until a cure is found lies in clinical trials either in Australai, overseas, or both.    Much of the leading edge research and clinical trialling is carried out overseas but this medical treatment is prohibitively expensive.   Following her second relapse and to help support Olivia and her family's relocation to Germany for antibody treatment at the University Hospital of Greifswald, the Olivia Lambert Foundation was established.   Importantly, the Foundation has a much broader and enduring purpose of supporting other children with aggressive forms of cancer, where their families are in “necessitous circumstances”, that is unable to afford the costs associated with the treatment required by their children.  

Thank you so much for your generous support.