Our little miracle! Alice has the heart to survive anything

Alice Beck is very lucky to be alive. Her mum Julie and dad Daniel hope Queenslanders will donate to the Channel Nine Telethon that supports the Children's Hospital Foundation.
Alice Beck is very lucky to be alive. Her mum Julie and dad Daniel hope Queenslanders will donate to the Channel Nine Telethon that supports the Children's Hospital Foundation. Bev Lacey

TINY Alice Beck is a miracle child.

At 12 months old, the delightful little baby has survived open heart surgery, heart failure, a rare and deadly lung condition, sepsis and meningitis.

Born last November with four holes in her heart, Alice has spent most of her life receiving treatment from Toowoomba's St Vincent's Hospital and the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane.

The congenital heart defect meant she had restricted blood flow.

By April, the youngster's health was going downhill fast with weight loss, lethargy and feeding difficulties indicating she was suffering heart failure.

Lady Cilento doctors had no choice but to put the infant under the knife for eight hours as they tried to fix her broken heart.

She pulled through the surgery but her recovery was set back after doctors realised she an extremely rare lung condition called congenital pulmonary lymphangiectasis.

That meant she had to endure a three-hour operation on her lungs and a three-week stay in Lady Cilento's pediatric intensive care unit.

"We didn't think she'd make it and we were told doctors might have to stop her care," Alice's mother Julie Banks said.

"We were told to prepare for her to die because her health was so bad."

But Alice refused to give up, inspiring her doctors and amazing her mother and her father, Daniel Beck.

While it's been a tough ride for the young parents, Julie said the hospital and family and friends helped them get through.

"Everyone was unbelievably supportive," Julie said.

While Alice is slowly starting to reach milestones relevant to her age, such as waving and learning how to swim, the youngster is not out of the woods yet.

"Her future is quite uncertain because there are not many survivors with her condition," Julie said.

"Until the mid-1980s it was a death sentence.

"At the moment Alice doesn't need oxygen support and she is feeding quite well but she hasn't gained a lot of weight so she's on a special diet.

"We don't know what to expect - we just have to roll with the punches."

The Children's Hospital Foundation has played a key role in Alice's recovery, with the organisation providing important medical equipment and visits by social workers and volunteers who kept her entertained with games and storytelling.

"One of the best things was the Cuddle Carers who would stay with Alice while I went for a break," Julie said.

"It just made it all a bit easier."

Alice is one of 1364 Toowoomba and Warwick residents treated at Lady Cilento last financial year.

The youngster is taking on a big challenge, helping to promote the annual Channel Nine Telethon, supporting the Children's Hospital Foundation, on Saturday.

The appeal aims to raise $11 million.

As well as supporting patients at LCCH, money raised during the telethon pays for vital medical equipment, research and a range of medical services at Lady Cilento and throughout regional Queensland and Northern NSW.

"It's well worth donating to," Julie said.

"We wouldn't have Alice if it wasn't for the amazing work of the doctors and the staff at Lady Cilento and the foundation."

Children celebrate the $12m raised during the 2016 Channel Nine Telethon that supports the Children's Hospital Foundation.
Children celebrate the $12m raised during the 2016 Channel Nine Telethon that supports the Children's Hospital Foundation.

Tune in to TV to dial up support for sick kids

THIS year's Channel Nine Telethon organisers hope to dial up $11 million of support for our sick kids.

The star-studded annual event will be broadcast across Queensland and Northern NSW on Saturday (November 18).  

It raises money for the Children's Hospital Foundation.

The foundation provides vital support for young patients attending Lady Cilento Children's Hospital, 60 per cent of whom come from regional Queensland and Northern NSW.

The telethon has raised about $32 million since 2014.

That money has been invested in life-saving medical research, vital pediatric equipment and for "comfort and entertainment" services for ill children and their families.

The foundation has committed $5 million to fund research into priority health areas including cystic fibrosis, childhood nutrition and brain cancer.

"The survival rates for brain cancer have not improved during the past 30 years and only 20 per cent of children with the disease will survive," foundation CEO Rosie Simpson said.

"And if they do survive, they face really chronic health issues throughout their lives."

The foundation offers a significant bright spot in the lives of children who stay at Lady Cilento.

It offers the in-house Juiced TV where kids get to star in their own television show.

It also provides the fun Clown Doctors, volunteers who entertain children with books, movies and games so parents can take a break, the Cuddle Carers program for babies, music therapy, pet therapy, special events and hospital visits by famous people.

"We also help pay for clothes for the kids, we offer travel grants for families to join their child in hospital and we fund the social work program so the families are supported," Ms Simpson said.

"The idea is to try to ensure the children have as normal a time as possible while they are in hospital."

The telethon starts at 7pm on Saturday and there will be a special documentary on the Lady Cilento and its patients from 5pm.

The entertainment line-up includes Leo Sayer, Pseudo Echo, The Voice 2017 winner Judah Kelly, Eurovision star Dami Im and rock band Dragon.- NewsRegional

Donate at or by phoning 1800 909 900.

Topics:  channel nine channel nine telethon children's hospital foundation telethon editors picks fundraising health lady cilento children's hospital sick kids

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