Four-year-old Alex was like any other boy his age: full of energy with a cheeky nature and infectious smile; a little ray of sunshine to his parents, Natasha and Nathan, and big sister.
He was enjoying starting school earlier this year when Natasha and Nathan spotted bruises on his legs. They put it down to playground antics.
But then one night he came down with an alarming fever that couldn’t be shifted.
“Something in my gut told me it was serious,” Natasha said. Natasha and Nathan rushed Alex to their local hospital’s emergency department for blood tests. Why was their happy, healthy boy now pale, badly dehydrated and struggling to walk?
“I remember seeing the doctor take a phone call and his face just dropped. I knew it was the worst.”
Natasha and Alex were flown immediately from their home in regional Australia to hospital in the city. There wasn’t a moment to lose.
Their fears were soon confirmed: Alex had blood cancer.
“The carpet was ripped out from underneath us. You’re thrown into such darkness you’re not even sure which way is up.”
Little Alex’s body was riddled with leukaemia and he underwent immediate and intensive chemotherapy treatment. He will continue to receive treatment for the next three years.
“Seeing your child go through something like this is so difficult; trying to be brave for him when you’re absolutely scared out of your brain.
“And it’s so incredibly tough watching him lose that smile.
“My husband and I decided to encourage him to have a fighting spirit and be strong and brave like the Hulk, his favourite superhero.
“We are living and breathing every parent’s worst nightmare but together we’ve got this. Together we’re going to kick cancer’s butt.”
Thanks to the fundraising efforts of those taking part in Light the Night, Alex and his family can stay together in clean and safe accommodation near hospital while he undergoes lifesaving chemotherapy. To raise a lantern and shine a light for families like Alex's, sign up to your local Light the Night event today.
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