Skip links and keyboard navigation

Bell signifies the end of cancer treatment for Kahli

11 May 2018

Fourteen-year-old Kahli Hildebrandt will be marking a milestone tomorrow when she rings the bell in the children’s oncology day unit at The Townsville Hospital, signifying an end to more than two years of chemotherapy treatment.

Kahli’s mum Kris Burling said her daughter’s cancer journey began after she started feeling unwell.

“Kahli had slight temperatures, pains in her chest and was feeling weak so we visited our GP who organised some blood tests,” she said.

“We got a call the next day asking us to come in urgently where they diagnosed Kahli with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

“By that afternoon the Royal Flying Doctors were flying us to Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital.”

The family spent the next 11 months living in Brisbane where Kahli battled the disease.

“That part of the treatment usually only lasts six to nine months; however, Kahli became very unwell,” Kris said.

“It was a horrible experience.”

Kahli and her family returned to North Queensland in November 2016, where she was able to receive treatment at The Townsville Hospital with regular visits to Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital.

Kris said seeing her daughter ring the bell would be incredibly emotional.

“I’m excited and nervous,” Kris said.

“At the time you feel like the experience will never end, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Although we will never stop worrying it’s so exciting to have her come so far.

“I’m so proud of Kahli.”

Kahli will also be surrounded by around 20 family and friends when she rings the bell.

“The amazing team at Bowen Transit kindly donated a bus to transport Kahli’s friends and family to Townsville for the day so they could be with her to share in this milestone,” Kris said.

“We are so grateful to the Bowen community for all their support throughout this whole ordeal.

“A cancer diagnosis isn’t just emotionally difficult, it also makes it very difficult financially.

“The town raised an incredible amount of money to support us including shaving their heads and holding auctions.

“Local businesses and the school held fundraisers and the entire community has been behind us emotionally.

“Kahli had friends fly down to Brisbane during her initial treatment which was so important for her mental health.

“There are not enough words to express our gratitude to everyone who has helped us along the way.”

Last updated: 14 August 2018