Melbourne teen with just weeks to live makes ‘bucket list’ of fun adventures
A Melbourne boy diagnosed with leukemia has just weeks to live, but he is making every day count by ticking off a bucket list of fun adventures.
The family of Josh, 15, have gone to an almighty effort to boost their beloved son and brother’s spirits in his final weeks, endeavouring to make all of his dreams come true.
The 15-year-old was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at just 13, an aggressive cancer of the blood and bone marrow.
Sister Alayna Sangston, 25, told 9news.com.au they decided to launch a GoFundMe fundraiser to inject some fun into Josh’s life after coming to terms with the fact he doesn’t have long to live.
The money raised will be spent on incredible experiences he can share with his family and friends, who want nothing more than to cherish every last moment with him.
So far Josh has ticked off activities such as go-karting, gold class, a city helicopter ride, watching Essendon play in a corporate box and an animal encounter experience at Healesville Sanctuary from his bucket list.
The 15-year-old has been brainstorming fun-filled experiences on a whiteboard in his room at the Royal Children’s Hospital.
“I just want him to know that he’s loved and that we want to spend time with him and that he is important to us and try to distract him from what is going on,” Ms Sangston said.
“Also for all of us as well, it gives us an opportunity to build more memories with him.”
More than 3700 Australians are diagnosed with a form of leukemia each year, it being the most common type of cancer found in people under 24.
Of those, about 1400 cases are acute leukemia, according to the Cancer Council.
Ms Sangston said her brother’s diagnosis had shocked the family, as he had been in remission for about four months before his condition took a turn for the worse.
“His cancer cells were up 80 percent, they had basically told us after some tests that his body wouldn’t be well enough to go through another round of intensive chemo,” she said.
“He wouldn’t have much of his body left going through that.
“They think the leukemia will take over in about two weeks. So they gave a third option … it’s not enough to fight the cancer, but it’s enough to slow the progression.
“The fact that it has come back now has been really shocking.
“It went from he’s not feeling well, to he’s only got weeks to live really quickly.”
The experiences on his wishlist are very humble, with many just simple, yet meaningful requests, including a family BBQ. His family also threw him an early 16th birthday party.
Other things on his list include fishing and going on a cable cart at Arthur’s Seat on the Mornington Peninsula.
“All the things he wants to do are simple things, he really just wants to spend time with family,” Ms Sangston said.
“We are just doing what we can … it was important to me to do everything I could for Josh.”
She described her brother as a “brave” teenager who loves footy and the outdoors, including fishing, camping, and of course, playing video games.
“He’s been through a lot and he’s really taking it in his stride,” Ms Sangston said.
“He seems to make peace with it. He just wants to make the most of the time he has.
“We are all just proud of him.”
More than $10,000 has been raised and any money left over will be donated to the Piggy Bank Appeal.