It was May and Elle Halliwell, thoughts dulled by a haze of shock that Xanax could not silence, was reeling.

Two days after being told she had leukaemia, she had found out she was pregnant.
And doctors had given her a seemingly impossible choice: abort the baby and start treatment, or risk her life.

This is not a sad story. This is a love story.

One that has humbled and resonated with journalist Allie Langdon, who updates the News Corp journalist's brave journey in an emotional story on 60 Minutes


It's a story of a woman who doesn't look sick, but is.

A woman who remains as beautiful inside, and out, as she ever was.

"This is a love story," says Allison Langdon of Elle Halliwell and her husband, Nick Biasotto. Photo / Channel 9

A beautiful, courageous package, formed on steel.

And a couple who, as the countdown to the birth of their son can now be measured in weeks rather than months, continue to be optimistic, Langdon discovers.

Looking back on that mind-numbingly dreadful May, Elle tells of struggle to make sense of being told you have a death sentence, as well as the baby you have dreamt of.

"I just instantly thought this will kill me," Elle tells Langdon.

"Knowing that it had invaded every kind of area of your body, a blood cancer, felt so fatal.

"I just thought, that poor life inside me living in this sick body. I thought it had no hope anyway."


For Langdon, the story resonated: not least of all because she is also about to become a first-time mum: her due date and Elle's are just two days apart.

"I kept thinking ... I know the joy we felt when we found out that we were having a baby," she says.

"I couldn't imagine at that same time being told you have cancer and you need to terminate to save your own life."

"But because of everything that's happened they are going to induce her earlier, and she's carrying a big healthy baby.

 So far so good ... The picture Elle posted on Instagram two days ago.
So far so good ... The picture Elle posted on Instagram two days ago.

"And now they're just a few weeks ago from having their precious little boy.

"We are both expecting little boys - we are already organising play dates.

"I keep saying if she's ahead of me she will be getting lots of phone calls saying "Elle what does this mean?"

Elle has ridden a wave of emotion since being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia - a disease most commonly found in men in their 60s.

It's considered one of the more devastating forms of blood cancer.

Doctors warned Elle and her husband, Nick Biasotto, their advice was to abort so she could begin treatment immediately on a new form of chemotherapy with a high survival rate.

Abort the baby, freeze some eggs and perhaps, after five years, if the caner treatment went well, they could try again.

"Nick's initial reaction was "I wish it was me"," Langdon says.

Instead they started researching, got a second opinion, found a specialist, and found there was a possibility taking older drugs might see them through the pregnancy. Other women had managed it. But it was a choice fraught with danger.

"He gave us so much confidence ... to go along with the pregnancy," Elle says.

"We have matching bellies ... I just kept putting myself in her shoes and wondering how I would have handled it," says Langdon, seen here during filming with Elle. Photo / Channel 9

Fifteen years ago Elle's diagnosis would have been a death sentence.

"There was no treatment, it was 'go and enjoy the next three maybe five years of your life because that's all you've got'," Langdon says.

But new drug advancements mean many sufferers live long lives - it's just that Elle can't start taking those drugs until her baby is born.

Now, as the birth looms, Elle's health is by no means in the clear, but the couple is filled with optimism.

"They are not naive about what lies ahead, but they are truly optimistic, and they have been given reason to be," Langdon says.

"We talk about this ticking time bomb inside of her, she's not going to relax until it's diffused and the baby is out. That's always there in the back of your mind."

And then, Elle can begin to treat her cancer aggressively.

The real hard work, for her, begins once the baby is born: "That's when she can start the newer treatments," Langdon says.

"The side effects can be horrible, there's a chance the drugs won't work, that the cancer can mutate and that Nick will be left raising their son on their own.

"But that's the worst, worst, worst case scenario, and she's gotten through it so far being really healthy, all her levels are fantastic, there's no alarm bells.

"But you don't want to dwell on that stuff, and Elle and Nick certainly don't."

That is right there for all to see when Langdon ventures to Elle: "you're going to be around for a while aren't you?"

Elle replies, with a golden smile, through tears, and with vehemence: "abso-bloody-lutely".

In a video recorded a week after her diagnosis, Elle describes herself as "pretty lucky".

"Most leukaemias are pretty bad and had they found this ten years ago I would have been given three years to live," she says.

Langdon remains bowled over by the couple's courage, and their love.

"We have matching bellies - but this is not a story about my belly, this is a story about Elle's belly, and I just kept putting myself in her shoes and wondering how I would have handled it. I don't think I would have handled it nearly as well as she is," she says.

"They are inspiring. You don't know the steel that's in you until it's tested.

"It's not a sad story. It's a love story. There are incredibly sad elements to it, but Elle and Nick are just so beautiful and how they are approaching it is just admirable.

"What I have seen is what an extraordinary couple they are. They adore each other and they have this extraordinary family and support surrounding them."

60 Minutes airs on Prime at 8.30pm on Mondays.