Bianca was flying to Europe for the trip of a lifetime. The trip there almost killed her.

Bianca Zonneveld and her friend Karlea Louise were headed to Europe for the two-month holiday of a lifetime.

But after a horror 56-hour journey to their destination, the young Queensland woman ended up fighting for her life in an Italian hospital.

After departing for Italy at the end of June, the pair missed two flights and spent more than 24 hours stuck in a Chinese airport.

“Only took two days to get here,” Bianca wrote in a Facebook post on June 28 before she started to feel extremely unwell the following day.

“56 hours in transit. Got stuck in China airport for 26+ hours, missed two flights… Finally in Italy with wine cheese olives and swollen ankles.”

But as Karlea has explained in the GoFundMe page set up for her friend, Bianca was suffering from more than just swollen limbs from the exhausting trip.

Bianca Zonneveld
Bianca with her friend and travel partner Karlea. Image: GoFundMe

Bianca, who has Type 1 diabetes, took her required medication during the two-and-half-day period, but it wasn't enough to keep her from falling seriously ill.

"Unfortunately this time this medication mixed with being exhausted, dehydrated, unwell and unable to eat caused Bianca to suffer from a serious condition called metabolic acidosis," Karlea detailed.

"This was extremely dangerous and almost fatal for her, especially as a diabetic."

Metabolic acidosis occurs when an issue with the body's cells throws off the chemical balance in your blood, making it more acidic. It is a rare complication of diabetes but can occur after ingestion of certain drugs or chemicals like methanol or aspirin.

For Bianca, the condition almost claimed her life.

"By the 29th (June) Bianca fell critically ill and by the 30th she was unresponsive in the intensive care unit of San Raffaelle Hospital in Milan," Karlea said.

"The most terrifying reality is we almost lost her on arrival at the hospital.


"She was taken in three different ambulances and visited three different hospitals, with the first hospital turning us away which was a huge mistake of theirs as she suffered horribly overnight from the incorrect diagnosis. Finally ending up in the ICU where she will be calling home for a while."

Karlea said that when Bianca was finally treated properly, her blood was so "toxic" that her kidneys could not filter the blood anymore, and she has been put on dialysis.

But that wasn't the extent of her injuries, the Sunshine Coast woman also suffered from respiratory failure due to an unidentified bacteria in her lungs and is now being treated for pneumonia.

Bianca Zonneveld
Bianca was going to travel Europe for two-months. Now she could spend that much time in hospital. Image: GoFundMe

On Tuesday, Karlea said that Bianca was in an induced coma, breathing with help of a ventilator, and being treated with antibiotics to hopefully clear her infections.

"The doctors are working to keep her fever down and blood pressure up and she is being monitored by a specialist team around the clock. Bianca has been in an induced coma for four days now."

Thankfully, it seems Bianca is expected to recover. Karlea explained that her friend "Biddy" would be staying in intensive care until she is well enough to fly home - which could be months away. Her mother Monique has flown to be with her.

"Bianca and her mother, Mon, are not ones to ask for help. But it's time. The family is in no financial situation to fly over to Italy or to be staying long term while Bianca heals.

"Accommodation and other expenses are costly here, especially near the hospital and in the city. We are also concerned about the fact that Bianca won't be able to work for quite a long time after she returns home."

Family, friends and strangers promptly responded to Karlea's calls for financial aid, together raising more than $12,000 in less than two days.

You can donate to the GoFundMe page for Bianca here.