Rotorua Daily Post health and business reporter

Miles of smiles for cheeky tot

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Frank Meads and his mum Tracey are looking forward to the next year. Photo / Andrew Warner
Frank Meads and his mum Tracey are looking forward to the next year. Photo / Andrew Warner

Tracey Meads had a moment recently when she was filling in kindy enrolment forms for 3-year-old Frank.

It came as she was filling in the medical section, which asked if her son took any regular medicines.

"I had to tell the lady that, actually, the previous year he'd had leukaemia."

For Mrs Meads, it was a real awakening as to how far Frank had come since his diagnosis at age 1.

These days Frank is a thriving, cheeky and busy preschooler, and those who don't know his background would be surprised to learn how sick he had been.

"We just get on with it now. Anyone new, we have to tell them what we went through."

Frank was diagnosed with leukaemia in early 2014 and the family spent the best part of the following 12 months at Starship Hospital in Auckland.

Mrs Meads said it had been great to see Frank start kindy late last year and he'd adapted really well.

While Christmas last year was spent in Starship - with a special day pass to go to Ronald McDonald House for lunch - this festive season the best part was all being under one roof.

Frank is in remission, but has three-monthly checkups at Starship and is monitored at Rotorua Hospital in-between.

"He's in remission. It's one year post [bone-marrow] transplant. He's just thriving, just getting on with it."

For Mrs Meads, Frank's diagnosis and what the family has been through has also prompted a new calling for her.

Last year she started Love Letters, where she asks people to send in A4-sized alphabet letters which she then uses to make up the names of sick children so they can hang them on their wall.

"It's been amazing. We've received so many. We've nearly sent out 200 names to different kids."

She is also working on another project which delivers kids' baking sets to children in Starship. It was something she felt compelled to do.

"I can't close my eyes to it now."

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