Brave boy remembered

By Lin Ferguson

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A year ago on Christmas Day Wanganui 11-year-old Brooklyn Hati-Bennett was diagnosed at Auckland's Starship Hospital with one of the worst types of cancer - rhabdomyosarcoma.

He died on September 8.

His guardian and foster mum Ngareta Patea said yesterday that after their "darling boy's" death she and husband Dominic "had a vision".

They decided in their time of sadness they had to celebrate Brooklyn's life.

"He had inspired so many of us and will never be forgotten for the strong fight he fought.

"He had good days and bad days but always pushed through. He fought for eight strong months - but in the ninth month the cancer started spreading and our boy was becoming weaker.

"Unfortunately the big C took his life from us on Saturday September 8, 2012, and he was laid to rest on September 11, 2012, in Wanganui."

Next month, on January 19, the family is running a mixed touch tournament called The Brooklyn Battle at City College. A carnival and concert are also planned.

"We have been donated the use of the grounds and the facilities by the school and have 12 teams from throughout the region already signed up to play."

And recently the Pateas and their whanau also set up Brooklyn Love Foundation.

"We created it to help other families in the same difficult situation."

Mrs Patea said they intended making the The Brooklyn Battle bigger and better each year.

"This year we are hoping to invite some local businesses along to raise awareness and hopefully gain some major sponsors."

Brooklyn had attended Te Kura o Kokohuia in Castlecliff and was keen on sport, in particular basketball, soccer and touch, she said.

Husband Dom has played a big role in touch in New Zealand, including coaching provincial teams, and Brooklyn played - hence the tournament.

"We want to support other families who walk the cancer journey alongside their children."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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