Te Puke 7-year-old Bowden Watkinson has spent a month in hospital but his mum says his family are no closer to understanding what caused his illness.
While he is still facing new challenges, including regaining muscle tone after a month laid up, the generosity of others has given him and his family a reason to smile.
Bowden was rushed to Tauranga Hospital on Christmas Day in terrible pain. Two days later he was admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Auckland's Starship hospital.
Bowden, who lives with cyclic vomiting syndrome, has been in the general pediatric ward since mid-January and his mum, Rebecca Watkinson, expected it to be a "very long road" to recovery.
"It is still up in the air as to what is actually going on. We are still trying to puzzle our way through things," she said.
"Hopefully we get some answers and figure out what this is and how we go about it long term."
Before Christmas, Bowden had been regularly struggling to put pressure on his foot.
In hospital, he was treated for symptoms including body-wide pain and a "huge hematoma" over his abdomen caused by bleeding after a kidney biopsy.
He spent the first two weeks at Starship sedated and on a ventilator.
After a month lying in a hospital bed, Bowden had "lost all of his muscle tone", his mum said.
He was struggling to sit up and walk and was being transported around the hospital in a wheelchair. He had started daily physiotherapy.
"This is a kid who loves to run around and do things, now he can't even sit up. Physiotherapy is a bit hard on him. He comes back a little bit disappointed," she said.
"He has to really work just to stay upright. He is doing well, but it is just going to take time."
Watkinson said he went a "little bit downhill" after the weekend and had been vomiting more than usual. Doctors were continuing to carry out blood tests and had sent blood samples to the US, she said.
"We may never know what caused all of this but they have sent other tests off now. It is kind of like 'just wait and see what they can come up with'."
Yesterday another blood sample was taken to see if he had developed sepsis - an extreme immune response to infection.
She said he was also "pale, withdrawn and a lot quieter" than usual.
"There are lots of teams still involved trying to figure out how much of what medicines to give him."
She anticipated it would take months for her son to fully recover and didn't think he would be discharged any time soon.
"We are getting there, it is just going to be a very long road."
She was feeling "a bit burned out" but had been given a proper bed to sleep on in Bowden's hospital room.
"It's just these little things that help."
Bowden had not seen in his siblings, aged 9 and 13, since being admitted to Starship aside from one time where they were able to briefly wave and "say hello" from the doorway, she said.
But his brother and sister were insisting the Christmas tree stayed up until he returned home for a "proper" family celebration.
Relatives and neighbours had stepped in to care for the kids as Bowden's dad, Daniel Watkinson, had to return to work.
The couple felt "blessed" to have received almost $7000 of donations on their Givealittle and a huge amount of supportive messages.
"People are thinking about him - and it is nice. We have had an amazing response and it is going to make life a little bit easier," Rebecca said.
The money would go towards costs, with follow-up appointments, staying at Starship, fuel for Daniel's trips to Auckland and a celebration once Bowden had recovered.
The Te Puke primary student was overjoyed on Monday when hundreds of dollars worth of Batman gear was delivered to his hospital room.
Rebecca said the "incredible" act of kindness was from an individual who runs
a "Random Acts of Batman" Facebook page.
"You could just see his spirits lift. It was nice to see because he was having such a rough day.
"He just lit up - it made a huge difference to his day."
The Auckland District Health Board was approached for comment.