Toby Piper is a 5-year-old boy from Marton who likes playing and watching movies.

But for the next six months he'll have to do that from Starship Hospital in Auckland.

Toby was last week diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma, an aggressive blood cancer that is affecting his kidneys and other organs.

And now the Marton community is rallying to support the boy and his family.


Toby's mum Angela said the diagnosis was not unexpected. He had been showing symptoms for some time. He had enlarged kidneys, was tired, slept a lot and was throwing up.

"We had an inkling it was a cancer of some kind," she said. "We had a feeling we were going up to Starship anyway."

When he arrived he was put into intensive care and on dialysis to clean out his blood.

Toby will be in Starship for six months and is on heavy treatment, including chemotherapy, lumbar punctures and bone marrow tests three times a week, which require anaesthetic.

Despite that, Miss Piper said "he's doing brilliantly". He's responding really well to the treatment. He's in good spirits, but some days he seems a little bit down."

The 5-year-old started at Marton School last year but will continue his schooling at the hospital. "He's your everyday sort of 5-year-old boy," Miss Piper said. "He's happy-go-lucky, likes playing, watching movies, eating junk food. He likes to go out and go to the park."

A Givealittle page has so far raised $4000 for Toby and his family. Miss Piper said the support had been great.

"Absolutely. There's been a couple of businesses that are getting involved as well," she said.

"It will go to anything that we need for Toby to make his treatment and the time that we have up here as enjoyable as possible."

-People can donate to Toby's Givealittle page at