Light of their lives

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS - TALISA ELEY

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

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