Milestone reached for ill dad

By Sonya Bateson

Life is good for the Foster family now - but they're aware that could change at any moment.

The Bay of Plenty Times spoke to the Ohauiti family one month ago after they discovered their winter supply of firewood had been stolen. It was a double blow for the family as they're dealing with dad Rob's terminal bowel cancer.

After the story was published, mother Tori said their phone rang non-stop for 24 hours and they now had enough wood to last through until next winter.

Mr Foster's cancer has spread through his body and tumours in his spine cause a lot of pain. He has chemotherapy every two weeks and a CT scan every eight weeks. At his last check up, the scan showed his condition hadn't worsened, a cause for celebration as that meant he was declared stable, at least until his next scan.

"My life revolves around a red pump and I'm so grateful to that pump at the moment. My initial prognosis was that I wouldn't reach Christmas and I'm now eight months past that. Nothing is shrinking and nothing is growing which is good news."

Mr Foster said people were probably getting sick of hearing how grateful he was, but that was the way he was fighting his disease.

"My choice in battle is to be grateful and thankful. I'm thankful I've had time with my family, thankful I've learned about myself and grateful for the generosity that's been shown to us. I'm thankful and grateful I got to see my son Benjamin's 7th birthday on Sunday, which I didn't expect to see."

The day of Benjamin's party, Mr Foster said he was ill all morning and didn't think he would be able to make it, but managed to rally and be there for his son.

"It meant so much to my 7-year-old that Daddy could make it to his party. I made it past Christmas, New Year's has been and gone, our anniversary has been and gone and now I've seen my son's birthday. All these things have been and gone and the best thing is I'm stable. I can fight for longer."

His next goal was to be able to walk youngest son Jacob through the school gates on his first day of school in October.

Mrs Foster said they had received other donations from the community as well as the firewood which was helping to pay the bills.

"We've got $2500 in the bank now, we're able to use that to top up the benefit every week to pay the power bill and the other bills that come along. It's the little things that help as well, one lady offered to bake a cake for Benjamin's birthday and baked him a Lego cake. We're hopeful the money will last us a little while, but it will run out eventually."

Mrs Foster said they had been incredibly blessed by all the donations which had helped make their life a bit easier.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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