Toby bat­tling can­cer

Te Awamutu Courier - - News - BY BETHANY ROLSTON

Get­ting through life is about tak­ing one step at a time for Court­ney Bat­tensby and her son Toby White.

Af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with a rare form of blood can­cer in March, Toby has spent his year in and out of hos­pi­tal.

The 7-year-old has b-cell lym­phoblas­tic lym­phoma and is un­der­go­ing chemo­ther­apy.

Toby’s life is now poles apart to most other boys his age.

He has left St Pa­trick’s Catholic School for the year, swap­ping the class­room for the hos­pi­tal bed.

Due to the mus­cle loss in his legs, Toby uses a wheel­chair and is learn­ing to walk again.

His hair is slowly be­gin­ning to grow back again af­ter it fell out.

Toby is on a high-fat diet, mean­ing he can eat his favourite food — mince, mac ‘n’ cheese and ice­cream.

“He still has to eat his veges,” Court­ney says.

“Even though he’s got can­cer I still have to par­ent him — he can’t get away with ev­ery­thing.”

Toby also has a 1-year-old brother, Fin­lay, a happy baby who’s been a huge bless­ing to Court­ney.

Toby and Court­ney spend their weeks at Star­ship Hos­pi­tal and Waikato Hos­pi­tal, with Fin­lay looked af­ter by fam­ily.

Court­ney tries to make the ex­pe­ri­ence as fun as pos­si­ble.

“He’s still just a typ­i­cal 7-year-old boy.”

They keep busy play­ing games and hav­ing visits from a phys­io­ther­a­pist and teacher.

“He gets a bit bored and lonely be­ing away from his friends. There are some days where all he wants to do is lie down on the couch and rest — and that’s okay, too.”

For Court­ney, Toby’s can­cer has given her a new sense of pur­pose.

“I could choose to be down and de­pressed about our sit­u­a­tion, but I don’t want that. I want to stay pos­i­tive and raise my chil­dren to en­joy life.

“You’ve got to have a sense of hu­mour and make it fun.”

Court­ney is thank­ful to the Te Awa­mutu com­mu­nity, St Pa­trick’s School and her fam­ily for their sup­port.

She also thanks Te Awa­mutu busi­ness Collins Floor­ing Xtra, which re­car­peted her home for free with Turkestan — a hy­poal­ler­genic car­pet that fil­ters un­wanted tox­ins and odours.

Court­ney is proud of her son, who has re­mained brave, strong and pos­i­tive through­out the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“He some­times asks me if this whole thing is just a dream.

“The hard­est thing is know­ing that you can’t take their pain away, you just have to watch them go through it.”

Court­ney and Toby don’t know how long the treat­ment will take — it could be up to three years.

“We just live one week at a time,” Court­ney says.

“It’s hard to plan any­thing at the mo­ment. One thing we know for sure — we want to be home for Christ­mas.

“We want to get a Christ­mas tree this year — a real one. I’ve told Toby we can go crazy with the dec­o­ra­tions.”

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