THE BLOOD line is strong among the staff, parents and students of St Joseph's Primary School at Kilaben Bay.
It has been made strong to support one of their own in a time of great need.
Just two months ago seven-year-old student Lily Wood was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, a painful cancer that affects her blood and bone marrow.
"Lily had been having strange mood swings but it was February when she woke me up in the early hours with terrible screams of pain that I knew something was seriously wrong," explains her mum Fiona Wood.
"Her screams were so dreadful. She had pains in her back but then they moved to her arms and legs. I took her to the hospital straight away," Mrs Wood said.
It was the start of a nightmare for the Wood family, a nightmare they are still trapped in and will remain so for at least another two years.
"It's uncanny, but I have a girlfriend who has a five-year-old daughter who had the same form of leukaemia. It took her two dreadful years of constant treatment to get through it so we have a rough idea of what to expect, though I never thought for an instant we would go through the same nightmare. I thank God, though, that the treatment at this age gives a good chance of total recovery," Mrs Wood said.
The treatment for Lily, which some weeks involves spending five days out of seven in hospital, is based on chemotherapy and copious transfusions of blood and blood products.
"I had to have blood transfusions myself after an accident some years ago and little Lily was 13 weeks premature so she came into the world fighting to live with constant blood transfusions. Giving blood is so very important," she said.
Lily's entire school has rallied behind the Wood family's dilemma.
Parent Vanessa Gebhard said the school is now on a permanent blood drive.
"We also need to help the family financially because Fiona is on unpaid leave for the next two years."
To help out, the school P&C organised a Lily's Silly Hair Day and raised an invaluable $1200 for the Wood family.
Nicole Tait of the Australian Blood Service said 34 per cent of all blood supplies goes to cancer patients.
"One in three people will need blood transfusions in their lifetime yet only one in 30 is giving it," she said.
The Mobile Blood unit will be at Rathmines on Monday (June 18).