File size must be less than 2Mb
You must have online publishing permission or full ownership of this image
File types (jpg, png, gif)
17 June 2020
With six months of his cancer treatment still to go, Horsham youngster Braxton Williams has turned his attention to raising money to support other families in a similar position.
Braxton, 6, and his family and friends have joined forces for Crunch 4 Kids with Cancer, a 20-day stomach-crunching challenge to raise money for Redkite, Australia’s leading national children’s cancer charity.
Braxton was diagnosed with a brain tumour in January last year, at just five years of age.
What started as a range of concerning symptoms – headaches, loss of balance, blurred vision in his left eye – turned gravely serious after a visit to Wimmera Eye Clinic.
Article continues below
An optometrist referred Braxton to Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital where his mother, Sarah Lee, was given heartbreaking news; he had a slow-growing glioma at the base of his brain that had damaged nerves in his left eye and spread to his spine.
Neurosurgeons attempted to remove the tumour, but found it was too vascular and the risk of bleeding too high.
Instead, Braxton started a course of chemotherapy to try to reduce the size of the tumour and preserve the vision in his right eye.
Ms Lee said even when Braxton lost total vision in his left eye, he never called it quits on facing cancer.
She said his team, Wild.sol, would complete the stomach-crunching challenge this month to help other families struggling through such a difficult time.
“When you’re still trying to wrap your head around the fact that your child has cancer, you tend to forget about your financial situation and own wellbeing,” she said.
“When treatment begins, you’re having to pay for expenses that you weren’t once paying for, like meals at the hospital, parking, fuel, and at times accommodation.”
Ms Lee said that’s where Redkite came in.
Redkite provides essential support such as free online, video and phone counselling, financial assistance to families, as well as funding music therapists and social workers in children’s cancer wards around the country.
Braxton and his mother are still having to drive back and forth between the Royal Children’s and Horsham, a seven-hour round trip by car, to see specialists and go to various appointments.
“It was very reassuring knowing that we had the support of Redkite,” Ms Lee said.
“Braxton is going back to school part-time, but in the afternoons I home school him and he uses an iPad, which we received via Redkite’s education grant. Just something small like this has been a really big help.”
Crunch 4 Kids
Redkite’s Crunch 4 Kids with Cancer is a 20-day stomach-crunching challenge from June 1 to 20, which encourages participants to set their own crunch and fundraising goals, either solo or as part of a team.
Since May last year, Redkite has supported about 550 Victorian families facing their child’s cancer.
Redkite chief executive Monique Keighery said she looked forward to seeing families from across the country participate in the challenge in their home gyms or on their living room floors.
“Redkite’s Crunch 4 Kids not only encourages people to do something fun as a family or individually that is positive for their physical and mental health, but everyone who participates in the challenge is saying to kids with cancer ‘we’re on your team!’,” she said.
“Every crunch crunched, and every dollar raised, will help provide essential support to kids with cancer and their families.
“This support has never been more critical. As if cancer wasn’t already tough enough, COVID-19 has put additional emotional and financial pressure on these families and the stories are heartbreaking.
“In April, the Redkite family support team delivered 60 percent more support sessions than the 2019 monthly average – it’s the generosity of local communities and businesses that is making this possible.”
Ms Lee said she and Braxton hoped others would take up the challenge.
“With most people feeling the pinch financially due to COVID-19, the challenge is a great way to get involved if you’re unable to donate,” she said.
“It creates awareness around Redkite. It’s also important to support them where we can as Redkite give so much.
“Braxton’s support network stretches beyond comprehension and his journey would be unimaginable without you all.
“The support and generosity we have received is deeply appreciated and we honestly couldn’t thank you all enough.”
Wild.sol has already raised $1200 of its $2000 goal.
People can sign up or donate online at crunch4kids.redkite.org.au.
The entire June 17, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!