Fam­ily faces tough times head-on and to­gether

Central Leader - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

The last three years have been a tough jour­ney for can­cer pa­tient David Te Maipi and his fam­ily.

But David, who has a rare form of ter­mi­nal fa­cial can­cer, is mak­ing the most of the 11 months doc­tors have told him he has left.

The 17-year-old, along with mum Alma, dad Mark and broth­ers Sa­muel, 11, and Kain, nine, were flown to Auck­land by SkyC­ity from their home in Up­per Hutt for three days of fam­ily fun.

When he found out about the trip David says he was speech­less, while Alma burst into tears of joy.

While each mem­ber of the fam­ily was given a ticket to go on the Sky­walk around the Sky Tower, David was the only one brave enough to take on the chal­lenge.

“I can do things like this and jump out of a plane, but I hate climb­ing up trees,” he says.

The fam­ily also took ad­van­tage of a com­pli­men­tary meal at re­volv­ing restau­rant Or­bit.

“I put a $1 coin on the side to see if it would come back af­ter we went around, but it didn’t,” says David.

He also got to meet Prime Min­is­ter John Key at a Mercy Hospice Auck­land event and stayed in SkyC­ity’s Grand Ho­tel.

David has com­pleted sev­eral ac­tiv­i­ties on his “buck­etlist” of things he wants to do while he can, in­clud­ing sky­div­ing out of an air force Her­cules and get­ting a moko tat­tooed on his back, to rep­re­sent his fam­ily.

But the stead­fast Hurri- canes rugby sup­porter has tried to main­tain some nor­mal­ity, at­tend­ing school at Up­per Hutt Col­lege where he can hang out with his mates.

It’s some­thing David has missed out on at times over the last few years, with long stints in Starship chil­dren’s hospi­tal for chemo­ther­apy and ra­di­a­tion.

Alma says the past few years have been tough for the fam­ily try­ing to split their time be­tween David, Sa­muel and Kain. But sup­port from Can­Teen and the Child Can­cer Foun­da­tion, along with fam­ily and friends has made things bear­able.

“They have been bril­liant,” she says.

SkyC­ity chief ex­ec­u­tive Nigel Collins says they found out about David from an ar­ti­cle in the Sun­day Star-Times.

“They are a lovely fam­ily. They de­serve this. I just wish we could do more.”

Fam­ily time: Can­cer pa­tient David Te Maipi, sec­ond left, spent three days at SkyC­ity with his mum, dad and broth­ers last week. From left: Alma, David, Kain, Sa­muel and Mark.

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