A Bay of Plenty mother says she and her husband have been "inundated" by generous offers of support to help fulfil their 3-year-old son's bucket list of dreams.
Whakatāne couple Abbey and Ben Hillman's son Tu was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer in October 2020 after tests revealed a 2cm pineoblastoma tumour on his brain.
The couple, who live in emergency housing, also has five other children, Jerome, 14, Kassius, 11, Braedyn, 10, Nina-Jė, 3, and 6-month-old Tuhoe-Potiki.
Jerome also has serious health issues, including going blind and losing his hearing. He will eventually need a kidney transplant too, his mother said.
Tu spent 10 months in Starship Hospital and underwent four surgeries, including two shunt operations and a stem cells replacement, four rounds of chemotherapy, and six weeks of radiation therapy.
At one stage, Tu was part of a clinical trial for intensive chemotherapy until his blood platelets tests revealed he had an unknown immune deficiency disorder, Hillman said.
In August and December last year, Hillman said they got glimmers of hope that Tu may have turned the corner after two follow-up MRIs showed no signs of the disease.
However, a third MRI on March 1 revealed five 5cm malignant nodules on Tu's brain.
His oncologist told them there was nothing more they could do other than try treatments that may prolong Tu's life a couple more months but he would still be a "very sick boy".
Hillman said she and her husband decided Tu had "been through enough" and deserved to have the last few weeks at home with his family and ticking off items from his bucket list.
She launched a Givealittle page to raise funds to enable Tu to spend his last few weeks doing some of the activities on his bucket list including riding a horse and flying in a helicopter.
Last week the Bay of Plenty Times and Rotorua Daily Post featured an article about Tu and his wish list since that time donations to the page have more than tripled to over $16,000.
Hillman said in the past week, Tu has ridden a horse and been in a big harvester, taken a spin in a V8 supercar tribute and flown in a helicopter around Te Mata Peak in Hawke's Bay.
He has also hung out with some Hastings police officers, including a police dog handler and his mate, ridden in a patrol car and a fire truck thanks to the Whakatāne fire brigade.
Hillman said Tu, his two younger brothers and their father, were also taken on a speed boat ride with spectacular views of the Matahina Dam.
"Tu has really loved it all and he can't stop smiling. It makes me feel quite emotional seeing how happy he has been," she said.
"We're having to be very careful though not to pack too many activities into each day, as while Tu is really into doing all these things, he's still a very sick boy and tires quickly."
On Sunday, Tu and his family were being picked up from their home for some fun activities centred around souped-up cars and motorbikes, including spending time with members of the Whakatāne Rod and Custom Club.
A tearful Hillman said it was a bit overwhelming as they had received "thousands and thousands" of messages of support and offers of help Tu to fulfil his wish list.
"We've just been inundated with kindness and generosity. It's amazing. We are just so grateful for all the awesome support that Tu and our family have received."