Grayson Partridge is a bubbly little boy who has a reputation for his beaming smile.

He's also a superhero.

In February, when the Whangārei toddler was 8 months old, he was diagnosed with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma - a rare cancer of the immune system.

The 1-year-old's little body has endured six months of chemotherapy, four months on a cancer therapy drug imported from the United Kingdom, and is about to start the next step in his fight - several more months of hardcore chemotherapy before a bone marrow transplant.

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His parents Alex and Jody Partridge say, despite this, he's remained a smiley little boy.

"He's the coolest kid, he's basically so happy all the time, he smiles for everyone. He had a bit of a reputation when we first started going to hospital because he would just beam at all of the nurses," Jody said.

Grayson Partridge on his first birthday with his 522 beads of courage representing the many treatments he has had. Photo/Supplied
Grayson Partridge on his first birthday with his 522 beads of courage representing the many treatments he has had. Photo/Supplied

Jody initially took Grayson to the doctor in late January because he had a mild fever. He was placed on antibiotics but over that weekend his neck started to swell up on one side so they took him to the GP and then to Whangārei Hospital.

Jody and Alex said in hospital he was pumped with different antibiotics as doctors believed he had an infection.

But instinct told them it was something more serious.

"His neck was getting bigger and bigger, his fever was getting worse and worse, and he wasn't sleeping the same - he was not himself," Jody said.

Alex and Jody pushed for further investigation and Grayson was eventually taken by helicopter to Starship Hospital.

A biopsy was taken and Grayson was diagnosed with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma.

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"He was only getting sicker, by the time we got the diagnosis it was almost like a relief because we thought right, now we know what it is, let's treat it," Alex said.

"It was in the weeks following that the cancer diagnosis started to sink in," Jody said.

The past nine months have been a rollercoaster ride for Alex and Jody.

Grayson relapsed during plan A, six months of chemo, and a scan showed plan B, the cancer therapy drug from the UK, also had not worked.

"We thought there was a possibility he could be cured from it ... then we had this scan and it was a very very hard week," Alex said.

Alex and Jody Partridge with 1-year-old Grayson. Photo/Supplied
Alex and Jody Partridge with 1-year-old Grayson. Photo/Supplied

Jody and Alex said a particularly tough time for them was spending Grayson's first birthday in hospital, in isolation, while he was having chemotherapy.

"We weren't allowed to have visitors in the room. We did have a cake but because we were in isolation we weren't allowed to share the cake with the nurses," Jody said.

"It was a pretty low point, it was one of our worst days. We wanted so much for our son," Alex said.

Alex and Jody have been living between Whangārei and Auckland and have been unable to work as they both need to be with Grayson.

"Financially we are going so far backwards it's going to take us a lot of time to recover from this," Jody said.

Yesterday the family headed to Auckland to start plan C - several more months of heavy doses of chemotherapy to get Grayson ready for a bone marrow transplant.

It means from now until December they will spend a lot of time in hospital, and over the Christmas period they will be locked in one room in the bone marrow transplant unit.

"One year of crap for 99 years of awesome," Jody said "He's our super hero."

A Givealittle page has been set up to help the family, visit givealittle.co.nz/cause/graysons-transplant