Teen's battle after surviving rare, deadly fungus
WITHOUT warning, Alyvia Greene-Galloway's body can shut down completely.
You could punch her in the stomach and she would barely feel a thing, but a tiny pinch on the arm will bring her excruciating pain.
These are just a few of the symptoms 19-year-old Alyvia lives with every day as the "only known person" to survive an extremely rare fungal infection, exserohilum rostratum.
She was diagnosed when she was six years old while undergoing treatment for lymphoblastic leukemia.
She was told she was the only person in Australia to contract the life-threatening infection and the first person ever to survive it.
But the intense treatment, which involved 12 different types of chemotherapy, left Alyvia with multiple autoimmune diseases and peripheral neuropathy, which affects the connection between her brain and nervous system.
Up to five times each day, the Warwick teen loses complete function of random parts of her body, internally and externally.
"I have no control of my whole body the whole time, you just have to learn to notice when it's happening and adapt," she said.
Despite her own challenges, Alyvia has devoted herself to caring for others, and is raising money to support the Starlight Children's Foundation, which helped her in her "darkest days".
Keeping the magic alive
Alyvia said organisations such as the Starlight Children's Foundation were "a staple" for children in hospital.
"They just try and make you laugh and make your stay easier and I think that is pretty important when you're in hospital for a long time," she said.
During her first year of treatment, Alyvia was given the chance to make three wishes and was granted a laptop that helped her keep in touch with friends and stay on top of her education.
On a surprise trip to Movie World, Porky Pig and Tweetie Bird presented her with the gift. Alyvia said foundations like the Starlight Children's Foundation helped retain a sense of fun and imagination for children in intensive care.
"They really understand kids and they want to keep the imagination flowing," she said.
Learning to manage 160 pills each week as a six-year-old, Alyvia was forced to grow up fast. "No little kid should have to grow up in the snap of a finger and make life decisions."
Now about to turn 20, Alyvia plans to study para medicine before pursuing a nursing career.
You can help support Alyvia by donating to her Birthday fundraiser online.