Boost for a special little boy

By Roger Moroney

A "very special" community has given the family of a very special little Hawke's Bay boy a remarkable boost to their lives.

Lives which Hastings woman Nicola Greville said had become a case of forced solo parenting, travel, concern and hope.

For her and husband Stuart's 15-month-old boy Marcus has been in Starship Hospital in Auckland since April ... a few weeks after his first birthday and a day after a blood test revealed he was suffering from a rare form of leukemia.

Acute myeloid leukemia causes an overproduction of white cells, and it had hit the toddler hard with a succession of problems starting with ear infections through to respiratory problems.

Since being flown to Starship the family have had to turn the normality of life upside down - with Mr and Mrs Greville taking shifts of being with Marcus and keeping the lives of their other children Maria, 5, and Juliette, 3, as normal as possible.

It had been tough, Mrs Greville said, but on Wednesday night another major fundraiser for Marcus lightened the burden considerably after about $9000 was raised.

Marcus's uncle Oliver McGuigan touched base with Napier RSA manager Craig Williams after broaching the subject of the costs of transport and other issues faced by the Greville family with Mr Williams' wife who worked in the same bank he was with.

Mr Williams said he had no hesitation in getting the RSA behind the cause.

"We have a large number of our membership who have grandkids and a large number are well through their lives and here was this little man just starting out on his."

He consulted RSA president John Purcell and he, too, gave it the thumbs-up.

"Everyone just got involved."

A trivial pursuit night was planned and staged last Wednesday, along with the raffling of several signed Super 15 rugby franchise jerseys donated by Magpies Zac Guildford, Israel Dagg and Danny Lee.

"It was such a warm and wonderful night," Mr Williams said.

The 30 teams who took part were asked for a $50 entry - but they all chipped in an extra $10.

The winning team on the night picked up $250 and put it straight into the fund.

"It was awesome," Mr McGuigan said.

Mrs Greville was almost lost for words.

"Just fantastic - people have just been fantastic," she said.

Marcus was doing as well as could be expected after several bouts of chemotherapy, she said.

"He has been responding well so far. There are still some leukaemia cells there which is a bit gutting, but there are two more rounds of chemo and then we'll know where it's at in a couple of weeks."

Mrs Greville said Marcus had coped well and said he was a "sturdy little boy" who despite the intravenous tubes, injections and chemotherapy had always found time to smile and play.

She hopes, all going well, that the family will all be back together again in about five weeks when he is scheduled to return home.

The leukaemia was a difficult one, with the odds about 60-40 in the patients' favour.

"There is anxiety there and will be for a while but you just have to do it, just have to get on with things."

Mr Greville was with Marcus at the moment and Mrs Greville would be taking over the "shift" next week.

Her daughters were also going along and were looking forward to seeing little brother.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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