In 2005, 8-year-old Levi Koroheke made national news over surgery for a rare condition that caused uncontrollable bleeding from his mouth.

Yesterday, as he awaited news from surgeons in Wellington, his mother, in Ngapara, said her son was scared he would not make it to his 21st birthday on March 2, after the bleeding returned around Christmas.

The specialist plastic surgeons who performed the five-hour operation in Wellington 12 years ago could not tell Levi's mother, Robyn Koroheke, what to expect at the time because his condition, arteriovenous malformation, was so rare.

Inside his mouth were a rare series of intertwined blood vessels that could cause excess blood loss without warning, which had not been a problem for Levi, until blood began pouring out of his mouth after a game of touch sevens as a Warepa Primary School pupil.

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After the surgery in 2005, Levi grew up healthy and was working on a Milton dairy farm but on a trip to Invercargill before Christmas he called his mother to tell her, the bleeding had started again. He had spent five days in intensive care and had since spent a lot of time in and out of hospital before Thursday, when he was flown up to Wellington by the Life Flight Trust.

Her husband, Hayden Koroheke, had taken time off work to be with Levi.

Mrs Koroheke said her son was scared that "he will drown in his own blood".

"It's really scary, because Levi's actually got it in his head that he's not going to make it through this one.

"He is so petrified, he is so scared that he is not going to make his 21st."

A friend from Waimate had started a Givealittle page for the family .