Fourteen months ago things were looking up for Takahue teenager Georgia Buckingham.
She was back at home with her parents, Glenn and Jo, and younger brother Trent, with the acute myeloid leukaemia that was diagnosed on Christmas Eve, 2014, seemingly in remission.
Remission had been hard-earned, with months of debilitating treatment at Starship Children's Hospital, but by June last year Georgia was planning to return to Kaitaia College and to resume the a life of the active, teenager she had been.
All that has changed now, she and her family receiving the news they had hoped they would never hear.
There was renewed hope following a bone marrow transplant two months ago, but the treatment since had not been effective, and her cancer cell count had increased dramatically.
The bad news came on May 12, exactly one year after she was told she was in remission. So began two more rounds of chemotherapy, while the bone marrow transplant offered the only hope of preventing "this horrible disease" from returning year after year.
None of the family matched, but a donor was found in Europe. Now the new marrow is cancerous.
"Looking at her now you wouldn't think there was anything wrong with her," Jo said last week.
Reality, however, was very different. Her daughter was back home, sister Hayley saying she had been advised to make a bucket list of things that she would like to do "in the next short while."
Top of that list was four days in Sydney, followed by a few days with family in Queenstown.
"We have a few surprises planned for Georgia, and of course lots of shopping. We can't wait to spend a few days together making lifetime memories," Hayley said.
"Thank you for everyone's continued support," she added.
"We have our fingers and toes crossed that she is well enough for our trip to Sydney (she leaves today), which is having to be brought forward. Let's also remember the good and happy times with Georgia, as she is the one who has been so brave on this journey."
Air New Zealand was contributing to a special few days in Australia by waiving ticket-changing fees (the trip was originally scheduled for next month), and by offering to host Georgia, Hayley and Jo in the Koru Lounge at Auckland International Airport while they wait for their flight this morning.
It has also come up with another special treat as they cross the Tasman, but NZME has agreed not to spoil the surprise.
Plans for the Aussie experience were originally made to see one of Georgia's favourite bands, Five Seconds of Summer (Jo is not permitted to preface 'band' with 'boy') in concert in Sydney next month.
Doctors doubt that Georgia will be able to travel by then, however, but the band, who Georgia met last year thanks to the Make a Wish Foundation, has already Skyped her, and she has been 'boosted' by one of the band following her on Twitter.
"She's very, very excited by that," Jo said.
"We have been told to live life to the fullest and make this trip to Sydney the trip of a lifetime for Georgia," Hayley added.
"And thank you everyone who has given. We are all so very blessed to have you in our lives."
* Georgia Buckingham's friends are working hard to help her achieve as many of her dreams as she can in the short time left to her.
As of yesterday, a Givealittle page had raised $23,195. Contributions may also be made at the ANZ Bank in Kaitaia.
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