Community throws its support behind schoolgirl
IT WAS the phone call any parent would dread.
"Your daughter has collapsed at school and she is unresponsive."
Jocelyn Finden can talk about it now, fairly calmly, but just over two weeks ago she and their family were in a terrified and frenzied blur.
Her 13-year-old daughter Klaire Metcalfe, a Year 9 student at Smithfield State High School, was rushed from the school by paramedics.
Still unconscious when the ambulance reached Cairns Hospital, everyone believed she had suffered heat exhaustion, but when she woke screaming with a headache medical staff knew something more serious was amiss and began a series of tests.
Ms Finden remembered vividly being sat down by doctors and told her daughter had suffered a severe brain bleed.
She was later diagnosed with Arteriovenous Malformation, an incredibly rare abnormal connection between arteries and veins.
"When I said "is it life threatening?" and they said 'yes', that just threw me," the Smithfield mum-of-three said.
"They said it was something she would have been born with and it was really unusual for (this to happen to) someone of her age.
"It usually presents when people are a bit older, but some people can go their whole lives and not know they have it."
Flown to Townsville intensive care unit for specialist treatment, she had a drain inserted into her brain to relieve the pressure.
Klaire spent two weeks in hospital with mum, dad Matt Metcalfe and younger siblings Kimberley, 12, and Ryan, 7, by her side.
She and Ms Finden remain in Townsville staying at the Ronald McDonald House, while waiting to be given appointments with specialists in Brisbane.
Friends and family have rallied behind the Smithfield family with more than $5500 raised as part of a GoFundMe campaign.
Ms Finden, a child care worker, said she had been forced to take time off work and was humbled by the fundraising which was helping cover the family's costs.
"It has taken some of the stress such as rent," she said.
The family will also face the tough decision of Klaire either having risky brain surgery or up to three years of radiation treatment in Brisbane.
She will also require ongoing speech therapy and physiotherapy. Ms Finden said there was still a small chance Klaire could have another potentially-fatal brain bleed.