Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Fighting against a repeat of history


GETTING SUPPORT: Seven-year-old Liam Todd will have facial surgery for an aggressive malignant tumour next week, his father lost his battle with brain cancer two years ago.

Two years after a father lost his battle with brain cancer, his seven-year-old son is fighting a malignant tumour in his sinus cavity.

Matt Todd, 34, died in May 2006. Last month, Matt's son Liam was found to have an aggressive malignant tumour and once again the local community is rallying to support the family.

Liam's mother, Rebecca Todd, was just starting to come to terms with her husband's death when she received the shattering news. Doctors told her the two diagnoses were unrelated.

"The rug was pulled from under me. I expected the worst because I am used to hearing the worst, but when they delivered the diagnosis I was numb," she said.

The Kapiti Coast family - Mrs Todd also has a five-year-old daughter, Ashleigh - have returned from a 10-day stay at Ronald McDonald House in Christchurch, where Liam underwent procedures at Christchurch Hospital because there are no paediatric oncologists at Wellington Hospital.

The best thing about returning home for Liam was "being back in my bed".

Preliminary results show the tumour to be a type very rare in adults and even more rare in children. It does not respond to chemotherapy so will have to be removed.

Liam will undergo facial surgery at Hutt Hospital next week.

His biggest concern is having plasters removed after the surgery. "They really sting."

The outgoing schoolboy said it was "great" being back at school with his friends for a few days.

His biggest disappointment was not being able to play rugby, but the highlight of the past gruelling weeks had been a gift from the Crusaders - a jersey emblazoned with "Liam, all the best with your fight", signed by his heroes Richie McCaw, Leon MacDonald, Stephen Brett, coach Robbie Deans and other team members.

The annual Bowman-Todd memorial rugby match this weekend will now raise funds for Ronald McDonald House as well as Mary Potter Hospice.

The match is named for Mr Todd and his friend Dave Bowman, a 36-year-old former policeman who successfully campaigned for government funding for the chemotherapy drug Temodal before dying just five weeks after Mr Todd.

The police invitational team v Waikanae invitational team game kicks off at 1.15pm at Waikanae Park on Saturday.

Anyone wanting to support the event can contact Ty Davidson at Kapiti police station.