Family faces tough times head-on and together
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.