Even when Grayson Partridge is really sick, you can still get a smile out of him.

In fact, his mum Jody said if he didn't have a nose tube it would be hard to know at first glance the Whangārei toddler was unwell.

But for almost exactly a year the 1-year-old has been fighting anaplastic large-cell lymphoma - a rare cancer of the immune system. Despite Jody and dad Alex hoping the battle would be conquered by now, this month they received the news they hoped not to hear.

Grayson's third treatment plan, a bone marrow transplant, had not worked and his cancer had returned.

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"I went cold. My skin crawled. It was that feeling like you had been dropped in ice. It's the worst feeling in the world because we knew that the outcome of his treatment options are unknown, and the treatment options are so severely limited now," Jody said.

"They've not said 'no, we're going to stop treating him' but they have referred us to palliative care already to start the conversation, in the hopes we will never need anything that they prepare for us," she said.

To help the Partridge family, friends have set up a market day fundraiser at Parua Bay Playcentre from 10am on February 23.

"We have so much appreciation for the support the community has given us because it just gives us a huge lift - spiritually and emotionally," Jody said.

The Partridge family have received support from the Child Cancer Foundation, and donations from the Givealittle page which have been a "huge help", but financially it has still been tough.

Jody and Grayson haven't been home to Whangārei since November - when they went in for the bone marrow transplant. In the past 100 days they've spent 85 days in hospital, and in February Alex will be heading to police college.

"Financially we live within the best of our abilities. The future planning is really hard because we thought we'd be finished by last July so financially we hadn't planned."

Despite all Grayson has been through, he has remained smiley.

"When he's really really sick, every kid will show how they're suffering in their own way, but Grayson, when he's upset or things aren't going well for him he is cuddly, he still engages, he still wants to play, he still wants to smile," Jody said.

If you have any items - including services - to donate for the market day, contact Zoe on 021 287 2225.

Alternatively, if you would like to donate via Givealittle visit givealittle.co.nz/cause/graysons-transplant