Light of their lives
WHEN Bryce U’ren learnt that 100 children with cancer would spend Christmas in hospital in 2016, he had just one thought: “We need to bake more cupcakes.”
After seeing his mother diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of cancer, the inspiring 11-year-old Gold Coaster had been hosting bake-sales and barbecues to get each child with cancer a turtle night-light to keep them company in the sterile, sometimes scary hospital wards.
He had enough funds for 56 lights, but was determined that no child would go without, reaching 244 night-lights by the end of that year.
Two years on, Bryce, now 11, has just finished a tour of all the major hospitals in Australia and New Zealand to coincide with International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The Pride of Australia award nominee has handed out more than 1000 nightlights – one for each child diagnosed with cancer this year.
“I’ve seen my mum go through cancer and thought about how scary it would be to be a child because you’re not allowed to take your stuffie (stuffed toy) in,” he said.
The SuperMax Turtle night-lights are specifically made for cancer patients, sterilised for hospitals and bright enough to light the room.
Bryce’s mother Amy Kenworthy remembers the moment her son came to her with the idea.
“He said, ‘I want to take action’, and kept saying it for weeks afterwards … as a parent you don’t know how serious a nine-year-old is when they say that, but he was determined,” she said.
Mrs Kenworthy said families were often appreciative of the support, as well as the gift, and Bryce’s efforts had helped their family too.
“I actually think it’s a beautiful gift to our family because I am still in treatment and one of the realities is you don’t know what’s around the corner, so for our family to be a part of this huge … network of love, it’s amazing,” she said.
Through donating to research into curing cancer, Bryce is hoping to do himself out of a job one day. “Our goal is to hand out zero turtles, which means no kids with cancer,” Bryce said.
For his selfless work, Bryce has been nominated for a Pride of Australia award.
Now in their 14th year, the News Corp Pride of Australia awards seek to unearth and honour ordinary Australians who make an extraordinary contribution to communities. PRIDE OF AUSTRALIA NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN AT PRIDEOFAUSTRALIA.COM.AU UNTIL OCTOBER 21. DONATE TO BRYCE’S CAUSE AT SUPERMAXANDBRYCE.ORG
TAKING ACTION: Bryce U’ren, 11, with Tanner Lousick, 4, and one of the special night-lights at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital. Picture: AAP/David Clark