Caitlin in hospital bedLife changed in a heartbeat for Caitlin just days after celebrating her 7th birthday.

"We went to the hospital one afternoon and didn't go home for nearly two months," mum Carla recalls.

One minute their creative, bubbly little girl was busy singing and dancing and the next she was lying in isolation at the Children's Hospital at Randwick.

Caitlin was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia and Carla said the diagnosis was devastating.

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We just felt broken as a family. The fear, the guilt, the uncertainty - it was overwhelming. Half of our family is in Ireland and couldn't be here and my mum had to look after our baby son.
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Carla, Caitlin's mum

Every aspect of family life was impacted. Carla said nothing is the same now as it was before Caitlin got sick.

Caitlin sleeping

Their lives were consumed by hospital as Caitlin endured rounds of treatment that left her feeling exhausted nauseous and scared.

Amid all the family's anguish, Starlight came into their world.

Captain Starlight visited Caitlin bringing joy and happiness that helped the family cope with their unimaginable pain and sadness.

Caitlin with Captain Starlight

Every visit made Caitlin's day, and having fun with Captain Starlight was the best distraction she could ask for. Her mum said Starlight did much more than make her daughter laugh and smile.

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Caitlin did not speak for five weeks - the Captain Starlights still came to see her every day, engaged with her and ultimately brought her out of her shell. They gave her back her confidence and reignited her love of music.
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Carla, Caitlin's mum

Over the following five months as an inpatient, Starlight helped Caitlin just be a kid again.

One of the family's happiest memories of hospital was seeing Caitlin get up and dance on stage in the Starlight Express Room!

Caitlin dancing on stage in the Starlight Express Room

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You never think you will be in the situation where you need Starlight. I have seen first-hand how Starlight changes lives, gives hope and brings great joy to sick children and their families.
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Carla, Caitlin's mum

Now Caitlin has received the exciting news that she will soon have her Starlight Wish granted. Since she found out, Caitlin has been talking, planning and thinking about her wish every waking moment her mum said.

"She really thought about it for a long time as she knew it was a privilege and such a special thing to be granted."

After spending so much time in hospital, the majority in isolation, Caitlin desperately missed her friends. So, her wish is to create a special space she can call her own and hang out with her friends.

Her brand-new space will give her a place to play, sing, do art and craft and have sleepovers with her friends. She's even given her hang out its own name! It's going to be called 'Caitlin’s Cave' where she can do all the things she missed out on while she was sick.

Caitlin has grand plans for her awesome new space and Carla said, "Her Starlight Wish will help give her back some of her lost childhood."

Stay tuned to see the reveal of Caitlin's Cave!

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