In her short few years, Avery Beal has overcome more than most people do in a lifetime.
After being diagnosed with leukaemia as a 10-month-old, the little girl’s first two years were spent mostly bed-bound, hooked up to beeping machines and surrounded by strange doctors. Her mother Jen rode every bump and twist in the road with her, living in the Brisbane hospital, while dad David was more than 100 kilometres away, caring for Avery’s five siblings.
Her condition was so serious it necessitated a bone marrow transplant.
Yet after 97 days in remission, the phone call every parent of a cancer patient dreads came: the cancer was back.
By the time Avery was three, she had two bone marrow transplants under her belt.
Luckily, though, the treatment worked, and Avery was given the all-clear from doctors.
The family was looking at their first full year of health last month when Jen and David were woken in the middle of the night. It was Avery. There was a nasty rash spreading across her neck.
"She was really upset. She was like, I need the hospital."
It would mark the beginning of a torturous eight-day stint in intensive care. Avery's depleted immune system meant she had contracted a staph infection that burned its way through 86 per cent of her top layers of skin.
"She wanted to eat some Doritos which is her favourite food... [so] your fingers go yellow. I went to wipe them and the skin just wiped off.
"You couldn't touch her. At one point she wouldn't lie back in the bed because she had lost all the skin off her back."
Now, finally, Avery has made almost a full recovery, and is at home with her parents, brothers, and sisters, living life like a typical four-year-old.
"You have the capacity to get through way more than you think you can," David said.
And Avery is the living embodiment of that.
You can help the Beal family pay for their medical costs on their GoFundMe page here.
Too much noise and not enough time?