An Eltham family are encouraging people to get wiggy this September, to support an organisation that supports them.
In 2020 Rebecca Evans and Jonathan Page noticed something was wrong with their 10-month-old son Xavier's eye.
When Xavier was 6 months old he was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 1, a genetic condition that causes tumours to grow along nerves.
"I took him to see a GP. They took weekly photos of his eye to keep track of it. These were sent to an ophthalmologist."
Rebecca and Jonathon then took Xavier to see an ophthalmologist, a paediatrician, and then an MRI was taken which confirmed it was a tumour.
The oncologist confirmed Xavier had optic gliomas, which are tumours that grow in various parts of the brain.
"It was a shock. Some of the tumours were slow-growing, but three of them were non-malignant but have the chance to make Xavier blind."
Ever since then, Xavier - now 2 years old - Jonathon and Rebecca have been travelling to Auckland every three months for appointments. Xavier is currently on trametinib, a chemotherapy drug.
"Xavier's immune system is quite weak, so he does catch a few colds. The good thing is that the tumours are not growing, however they're staying the same size. Xavier is the happiest boy you will ever meet, he doesn't realise anything is wrong."
She says while it has been a stressful time, the support from the Child Cancer Foundation has made her and Xavier's lives easier.
"When you are dealing with something like this it can feel like there is no support out there. We thought we were on our own, but we were referred to the Child Cancer Foundation who have been amazing. The support they offer us is incredible."
Rebecca says it makes all the difference knowing the support is available.
"It is so nice having someone to talk to and being able to receive advice. It's a wrap-around service that has helped us so much. It makes you feel special. Next year we are staying at one of their holiday homes in Taupō which will be a nice getaway for us as a family. The Child Cancer Foundation also sends out Christmas hampers, which really helps."
Rebecca encourages people to support the Child Cancer Foundation by getting wiggy for Wig Wednesday.
Wig Wednesday is the organisation's annual fundraiser where people are encouraged to wear a wig, style a funky hairdo or shave their head while raising money for the Child Cancer Foundation.
"It's important to support organisations such as these. My family have been on the receiving end of the great services this organisation provides and in order for them to keep doing that, they need to be supported."
Wig Wednesday was due to take place on September 8 but due to the different Covid alert levels, many fundraisers are either moving their events online or postponing until later in September, which is also Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Child Cancer Foundation chief executive Monica Briggs says they are hoping to raise $250,000 this Wig Wednesday to ensure they can provide essential support to tamariki with cancer and their whānau.
"Wig Wednesday is one of our biggest annual fundraisers. For those New Zealanders who aren't getting wiggy with us this year, please make a generous donation to help Kiwi families through the toughest time of their lives. In true Kiwi spirit, our fundraisers have adapted to the alert levels in their regions and are moving forward remotely to ensure we are able to support the families who need our help."