Temuka tot Emily Kernohan was diagnosed with leukaemia in February and returned to BestStart Opihi only six weeks ago, but the preschool has been dealt another cruel blow with 4-year-old Grace Quinlan also being diagnosed with the disease.
Teacher-in-training Ness Gillies said Emily’s guardian, granddad Donald Kernohan, was one of the first people to come forward to give Grace’s parents a donation.
Mr Kernohan said he and his wife knew exactly what they would be going through.
He said Grace’s recent diagnosis brought back memories.
Mrs Gillies said Grace’s parents Liam and Kaye Quinlan had the added complication of keeping their 2-year-old son Axel occupied while Grace received treatment.
"That on top of getting farm work done."
Mrs Gillies said she imagined the flights would have been costly at short notice, so the preschool had stepped up to fundraise for the family.
As for Emily, while she was back at the preschool two days a week, treatment had not finished.
Mr Kernohan said the final date of her chemotherapy was April 2025; almost a year and a-half away.
Emily had returned to preschool under the advice of doctors in Christchurch who felt she would benefit from being around other children.
He said so far she had been lucky, and had managed to avoid all the bugs going around.
With two children at the preschool diagnosed within a year, Mrs Gillies said she would advise parents to be an advocate for their child; if they were feeling new pains to advocate for them at the doctor’s.
Mrs Gillies said Grace’s symptoms started with sore legs.
A disco will be held in Grace’s honour on December 8, with the gold coin entry and money for food sales going directly to her family.
Two time-slots have been organised, preschoolers to year 4 gathering first with parental supervision, and then year 5 to year 8 can have a turn.
A quiz night and auction will be held at the Crown Hotel in Temuka on December 13.
If anyone wants to help the family they can call Mrs Gillies on 027 823 7612.