Blaise GoFundMe

Shocking diagnosis for 3-year-old with “common cold”

It’s cold and flu season, which means it’s germopalooza time, especially at daycare centres and schools.

Kids are routinely being sent home with sore tummies, warm foreheads and chirpy coughs.

So when local mum Tammy Leitch got a call from her kindy in Robina saying her son Blaise had a temperature, she wasn’t overly concerned. She took him to the doctor, and for the next few days he was off his food and his fever persisted.

Next stop was the GCUH and a blood test – which was the moment that changed their life.

“The doctor opened his blood results and said something doesn’t look right with his blood results and said Blaise needed to be admitted immediately. The doctor started rattling off things it could be, then out came the ‘leukaemia’ word. My heart just dropped,” Tammy says.

It happened to be Tammy’s birthday, and her phone lit up with messages and calls – but she couldn’t take a single one as she was overwhelmed for her son. Blaise underwent more tests and had a cannula inserted.

“The next day the doctor was very blunt and to the point and said it does look like your son has leukaemia. He will need to be transferred via ambulance to Queensland children’s hospital in Brisbane. We all started crying. It was such an unexpected diagnosis.”

The family has now temporarily relocated to Brisbane while Blaise begins his chemo treatment, Mum Tammy has had to take at least six months off work, while dad commutes between his job and Brisbane.

The family still has two other boys to take care of, rent to cover, bills to pay: life goes on after a horrific diagnosis like this, even if their world has been rocked.

If you can spare a couple of dollars to help this local family support little Blaise in this battle, please donate here!

“We have travel expenses and ongoing medical expenses including a lot of medicines, so any money donated will assist with all these expenses and help us to be able to be with Blaise 24/7,” Tammy says. “Any amount donated would be greatly appreciated.”

Read more about how little Blaise has been coping since his diagnosis in early June and donate to his cause here – even $5 will help cover hospital parking or a coffee break for exhausted parents, so please dig deep!

Mother and Daughter

Should we shield our kids from regrets?

In the last week, I’ve encountered two scenarios where the parents were desperately trying to shield their children from “having regrets”.

The first was fictional, in the debut episode of Big Little Lies season two: this is not a plot spoiler in any way, shape or form, but in this episode, Reese Witherspoon’s character blows her lid because her daughter wants to ditch going to college, with grand plans to instead work for a social housing start-up.

Her mother won’t have it: “You must go to college! You’ll regret not going! You’ll mess up your life!”

The second example came in the brilliant but brutal book Fake by journalist Stephanie Wood. She discusses her romance with her college boyfriend, and her mother is fretful, ranting, “I don’t want you to have any regrets!”

Two mothers, both wanting to shield their children from having any regrets.

But why? What is so bad about regrets? And what’s the alternative… to always take the safe path and never take a risk?

How boring and uneventful.

Mistakes represent our growth, learning and evolution.

Now to be clear, I’m not talking about the really big ones; the tragic mistakes that destroy people’s lives.

But things like not going to university? That’s not a game-changer. You can always enrol when you’re older.

Or falling in love with the wrong guy? God, yes, your heart will be broken. But you’ll learn so much about yourself and your capacity to survive, evolve and thrive at the other side of it.

Here’s one of my big regrets: I once signed a contract to buy an apartment in a CBD suburb. Before the contract went unconditional, I discovered that the “pet friendly” line the real estate agent had given me wasn’t true. I could either get rid of my two beloved pooches, or cancel the deal.

I walked away from the property – which has since gone up in value by half a million dollars.

Would I like to be able to turn back time and make a different decision? Possibly! I’d love my bank balance to be $500,000 fatter, and I’m sure my parents could have taken our dogs if we’d begged them enough.

However, I’m not going to waste any time worrying about decisions made years ago.

After all, if I had purchased that property, who knows what chain of events would have been kicked off? Would I be in the exact situation I am now, on the Gold Coast in a house I love… or would my life have veered off in a different path?

Who knows. Which is why I choose not to have regrets – and instead believe that there are no wrong decisions in life, just different directions.

This is the lesson I’ll be teaching my kids: not to create a life free of regret, but to learn from them. Because I reckon a life without regrets is a life not lived.


9 ways you can save a life – in just 60 seconds

“I’d give everything but my eyes. I don’t want someone else seeing out of my eyes.”

It was an unusual comment from my friend Gemma, but in the context of our discussion – organ donation – it wasn’t too strange.

Upon her passing, she shared that she might be okay with donating her organs, except for her eyes. I, on the other hand, am happy for them to take everything; what use do I have for it?

The upside for people like Gemma is that you can choose exactly what your preferences are. There are nine different ways you can save a life in your own death, and you can choose what you wish to donate:

• Bone Tissue
• Eye Tissue
• Heart
• Heart Valves
• Kidneys
• Liver
• Lungs
• Pancreas
• Skin Tissue

But Gemma said she won’t be joining the national organ register. “I’m worried that if I get sick, the doctor wouldn’t work hard enough to save me if they want my organs,” she said sheepishly.

Come again? Your doctor, who has sworn a Hippocratic oath to put the saving of lives above all else, would sacrifice your life to save another? This doesn’t make sense, so I posed the discussion a different way.

“Would you accept an organ donated from someone else, if it would save you life?”

She nodded emphatically.

“Then it stands to reason that you should register to donate as well, then…”

Happily, I won her over and she has registered to become an organ donor. I recently read about Sophie, a beautiful 10-year-old girl who drowned in 2016. In her tragic death, she saved the lives of many people.

“We decided that if we were in a situation and we were waiting for organs that would be horrendous,” her mum Karina said. “So for her to be able to do something for someone else… we didn’t hesitate. I think if she had to make a decision she would make the same one, because of her personality. She was so compassionate, loving. She wouldn’t want to see someone suffering.”

This DonateLife Week (Sunday 28 July – Sunday 4 August), register to be an organ donor. They are aiming to double the national register and it’s very easy to join: grab your Medicare card and enter your details here, or register through MyGov, like I did. It takes literally 60 seconds, but could mean the difference between life and death.

$1 Coins

Money expert shares perfect pocket money amount

Confession: I grew up in a household that struggled financially. We weren’t ‘poor’ poor. I never remember going without a meal, we always had a roof over our heads and I always had clothes (albeit mostly sourced second-hand or from Kmart).

But we struggled. My parents lived pay cheque to pay cheque, often running out of cheque before they ran out of month.

We moved frequently between rental homes and my dad filed for bankruptcy more than once. Basically, the lesson my childhood taught me was: money problems are the root of all conflict. Ergo, make sure you always have enough money, and you’ll always be able to minimise conflict. Easy!

This is how most people get their financial education: through their lived experience.

My partner had the absolute opposite experience to me and grew up in an abundant household. This led to an early adulthood littered with foolish money decisions; having never known the pain of “going without” or experiencing the fallout of tight finances, why would you be careful with your own income?

In my circumstances, I learnt to be incredibly thrifty and careful with my money, which led to me owning my own car outright by 18, and buying my first house at 21. Though I’m not angry at these results, I’m not thrilled about what I had to go through to get them!

Which brings me to my point: wouldn’t it be ideal if we could teach our children how to manage money with a clear financial education, rather than throwing them to the adulthood wolves and hoping they figure it out on their own?!

This is precisely what money expert Jim Brown aims to do. For more than 30 years, he’s worked as an auditor, investor, tax specialist and financial consultant – and this is his advice for parents who wish to raise financially responsible and thriving adults:

Don’t freely give your kids money.

“One of the biggest mistakes I see parents making is offering unlimited funds to their children for non-essentials,” he says.

“The consequences of giving your children unlimited funds for discretionary spending – especially after they’ve used up their entire allowance – aren’t realised by most parents until much later. Children of parents who do this may develop the habit of relying on additional funding sources that can be quite costly, such as high-interest credit cards.”

Money lessons start young, he adds – as young as six.

“We gave [our kids] $6 per week and increased the amount by $1 each year as they got older. They could earn more if they did something good that week, like offer to help someone or ace a math test,” Brown shares.

Sounds like a solid place to start on a lifetime of financial learning.


How Afterpay is making us poor

Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services are making it easier than ever to get into financial trouble. With these types of schemes, Aussies are “knowingly getting themselves into debt – and banks and financial providers are benefitting as a result,” says Tribeca Financial CEO Ryan Watson.

I see this happening a lot with my friends. Just recently, a pal went to Bali. Before she left, she stocked up on swimsuits at Seafolly – to the tune of $480!

“Popped it all on Afterpay,” she laughed, as if it were free. I had to stop myself from replying… “You do realise that you still have to pay for it, though, right?!”

Just because you can pay it off in instalments, doesn’t make it any more affordable than if you are paying full price with cash.

Rather than use Afterpay, people should try putting aside the cash for 4 fortnights. If they have the money pooled at the end, then they can afford to buy what they covet. If not… keep saving!

Think my philosophy is too harsh? Well, in news that is not really news to anyone, it’s been confirmed that roughly one third (31%) of Aussies confess to having a poor handle on their finances.

The research, released this month by Tribeca Financial, found that men are more likely than women to fail to pay attention to finances, with easy impulse purchases like takeaway food contributing to their debts.

“It’s alarming for people to get into credit debt over insignificant purchases like takeaway food and Uber Eats. The debt mounts up, leading to Aussies managing debt with high-interest rates, which is concerning – and it’s causing financial stress for two in five Australians,” says Watson.

According to their survey, more than half (54%) of respondents identified holiday spending, education costs, updating homewares and furniture and ‘big ticket’
purchases as the biggest culprits for spiralling debt.

Adults surveyed confessed to: not knowing how to budget; using cash advances on credit cards when they run out of money; not paying attention to debt; racking up late fees on credit facilities. The list goes on.

The big issue here is financial education – or lack thereof. Most of us learn how to manage money through trial and error, with an emphasis on the word ‘error’.

Charging this season’s fashion to the credit card or Afterpay is a massive step backwards. But learning to set a budget and live within our means – while saving the likes of Afterpay for true emergencies – is a big step in the right direction.