Brave toddler still has a long fight in front of her

February 07, 2018

Ivy-Jean Phipps and mum Tracey Smith are looking forward to coming home on Saturday.

AFTER only a month of cancer treatment, three-year-old Ivy-Jean Phipps is in remission.

The Echuca toddler was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia on January 3 and after enduring a bone marrow test and two lumbar punctures, has just finished a four-week induction phase of treatment at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.

‘‘It was a rough month for her,’’ aunt Shelley Smith said.

However, it appears to have paid off, with her latest test results indicating she has no cancer cells remaining.

Which has been a huge relief for her parents, Tracey Smith and Kyle Phipps.

‘‘She will continue to have her chemo orally for one month with a lumbar puncture performed each week under general anaesthetic to ensure there is nothing missed,’’ Shelley said.

‘‘Following that, she will then have chemo every 10 days for a month. After this, she will then begin another intense round of chemo in about mid-April and May.’’

However, doctors have allowed Ivy-Jean to return home in between treatments, so the family will come home on Saturday.

‘‘They will then head to Melbourne on Thursday for bloods before the lumbar puncture on Fridays and return home on Saturday to do it all again the next Thursday,’’ Shelley said.

‘‘In mid-April and May, they will have to shift back to Melbourne while Ivy’s intense round of chemo is administered due to the higher risk of infection.

‘‘Her treatment will continue until 2020, so they still have a lot of travelling and long days ahead of them.’’

With the treatment leaving Ivy-Jean with no hair, Tracey, Shelley and their other sister Trudy will shave their heads on Saturday at De Trazani hair salon, where Tracey works as a hairdresser.

‘‘Ivy-Jean was always saying she didn’t want to lose her hair so we hope this will make her feel that she’s not alone and it’s okay not to have hair and it will eventually grow back,’’ Shelley said.

‘‘Tracey and my hair is almost at the length of our bums and Trudy’s is below her shoulders.’’

With Tracey and Kyle having to give up work to care for Ivy-Jean, as well as their two other children Maggie, 2, and Abel who turns one on Saturday, Shelley set up a gofundme page last month to help with medical costs and other expenses.

Raising more than $23,000 in just a week, the page has now reached just over $28,000.

‘‘It is coming in dribs and drabs now but we’re hoping people will continue to support them,’’ Shelley said.

‘‘We’re so grateful for the support we have already had and want to thank everyone for that. It makes a world of difference to them.’’

To donate to the cause, go to

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