This week, 52 Lives is trying to help a 13 year old boy called Mitchell, from Gladstone Australia.
Three years ago, at age 9, Mitchell was given the devastating news that he had cancer. Doctors discovered he had 2 large malignant tumours in his abdomen. They were very rare and very aggressive.
Since that day, this little boy has endured countless cycles of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and 4 different surgeries. He has been in remission 3 times, only to relapse each time. He is currently in hospital undergoing an aggressive cycle of chemotherapy to try to keep the tumours at bay, while they consider options for further surgery.
It has been an emotional journey for Mitchell and his family. Every time a scan has given them reason to hope, it has been quickly followed by complications or more bad news.
On a practical level, their life has been thrown into chaos. The 5 of them are spread across 4 different locations, hundreds of miles apart. Mitchell and his mum, Rochelle, are based near the hospital, which is over 400 miles from home. His dad, Michael, is at home working long hours to try to keep them afloat financially. His older brother is away at university, and his sister is often cared for by their Nanna so his dad can work as much as he can.
They have been through a very tough few years, and it isn’t over yet.
But despite having spent a large chunk of his life in hospital, Mitchell radiates positivity. He recently won a special Community Spirit Award, and when asked in an interview what his biggest achievement had been to date, he replied:
“I have spent a lot of time in hospital and have beaten cancer three-times, so I can pretty much do anything!”
They also asked Mitchell what he’d like to do when he grows up. He said:
“I want to do or be something that will be an inspiration to others.”
With everything Mitchell has endured and overcome in his life so far, it’s safe to say he has already achieved that goal.