Carrie Bickmore is seen fighting back tears in a preview for a segment on The Project tonight as she hears the story of four-year-old cancer patient Uma Tomarchio.
The Channel 10 star sits down with Uma’s parents, Lucia and Giuseppe, who are from Italy and can’t access Medicare to pay for life-changing treatment for their daughter, despite being long-term residents of Australia.
Uma, who was born in Australia after her parents moved here almost seven years ago, has an aggressive form of leukaemia first diagnosed at two years old, however, given she is not a citizen, she does not quality for Medicare and her private health insurance won’t cover the cost of her treatment.
A bone marrow transfer is her only chance at survival, with the family now faced with the enormous task of raising $300,000.
During their Project interview, Lucia and Giuseppe describe their little girl’s fighting spirit in a moment that leaves Carrie close to tears.
“She’ll just look at me and say, ‘I’m not flying to the sky mum, I’m staying here with you. Don’t worry,’” Lucia says as clips roll of the loving mother singing to her daughter in her hospital bed.
Elsewhere in the interview, Lucia says her daughter’s playful energy has made her popular among nurses in the ward at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.
“She always smiles, even in the hospital when she’s very sick, she always finds a way to smile,” Lucia says.
A child born in Australia does not automatically become a citizen unless their parents are already citizens. Under Australian immigration rules, children born in Australia are not eligible to apply for citizenship until they are 10 years old.
The Tomaricho family, including Uma’s older sister, have been living here on a temporary skilled work visa.
Lucia and Giuseppe have set up a GoFundMe Page for Uma’s treatment, which has so far raised $150,000 through the community.
Carrie’s full interview with Lucia and Giuseppe will air on The Project tonight from 6.30pm on Channel 10