Paris Baccum was diagnosed with colon cancer in January.
Paris Baccum was diagnosed with colon cancer in January.

Family's final wish granted after cry for help

The family of a dying woman has been granted a last-minute reprieve, following a plea to the government to let members visit.

The heartbroken parents were stuck in hotel quarantine in Brisbane, fearing they would not get the opportunity to say goodbye to their daughter, who could lose her battle with terminal cancer within days.

Paris Baccam's parents, Anna and John Williamson, from the New South Wales Central Coast town of Buff Point, were "absolutely distraught" and begged to be released from quarantine as their daughter's health rapidly declined on Monday.

Ms Baccam, 50, of Townsville has been battling colon cancer since January. Ms Baccam's daughter, Alisha Nieling, 29, broke down as she told the Townsville Bulletin how her "distressed" grandparents had asked her to say goodbye on their behalf out of fear they might not get the opportunity.

"My grandmother can't even talk … she was howling on the phone," she said.

"They have already lost one child and they never got to say goodbye to him."

Paris Baccam with mother Anna Williamson and daughter Alisha Nieling.
Paris Baccam with mother Anna Williamson and daughter Alisha Nieling.

Following questions by the Townsville Bulletin, the Williamsons were last night released from quarantine and hoped to get to the city before they lost their daughter.

They were expected to fly out of Brisbane Wednesday morning.

Ms Nieling said the family was thrilled to leave quarantine. "We are so grateful for all the support. My grandma is beyond thrilled," she said.

"She had lost all hope … so it's great to be able to have something go our way this year."

The family thanked The Bulletin for campaigning on its behalf.

In the lead-up to Tuesday night's release, the family had called Queensland Health "more than 20 times" since applying for exemptions on Thursday. Ms Baccam had to quit her job as a driver trainer when she was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer this year.

Paris Baccam with her mother, Anna Williamson.
Paris Baccam with her mother, Anna Williamson.

The "stubborn" mum underwent surgery and came out the other side with a "second chance" on life, but it was short-lived.

Doctors recently told Ms Baccam and her family that her condition was declining and she would have a few weeks left to say goodbye.

The Williamsons decided to book a flight to Queensland on Saturday and were in their third day of mandatory hotel quarantine when Ms Baccam's condition deteriorated.

"They said 'mum's not going to make it' … they are just managing her pain now," Ms Nieling said.

Their tragic story comes the day after another Townsville daughter was forced to plan her parents' funeral from a hotel after they were killed in a Bruce Highway crash.

A Queensland Health spokeswoman said the department granted exemptions for end-of-life circumstances.

Paris Baccam.
Paris Baccam.

"We extend our deepest sympathies during an extremely difficult time," the spokeswoman said.

"Our current border restrictions and quarantine requirements are in place for one purpose - to save lives.

"We routinely give exemptions for interstate people to visit family at the end of their life. It is arranged for them to leave hotel quarantine to attend the visit while wearing PPE and then return to hotel quarantine."

Originally published as Family's final wish granted after cry for help



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