Byron Bay primary student Luka Monroe is a life-loving kid who eats fresh fruit and enjoys riding motorbikes.
But at the age of just five years old he’s been diagnosed with a massive tumour in his kidney that is almost as large as the oranges he’s holding in this photograph.
The first sign of it was when Luka started getting stabbing pains in his stomach earlier this month.
Within 48 hrs he was in the back of an ambulance being transferred to the Queensland Children’s Hospital.
He now faces nine months of chemotherapy and radiation to reduce the tumour to a size where it is safe to operate.
Ultimately both the tumour and the kidney will be removed but in the meantime he and his mum, Usa, will need to live near the hospital in a special apartment reserved for kids with cancer.
Luka’s dad, Ben, told Echonetdaily, ‘he has to live within 20 minutes of the paediatric unit because when they’re on chemo there’s a high risk of infection’.
‘There’s a lot of extra precautions that go towards maintaining his health during the treatment’.
Usa has had to give up her job to look after Luka full time in Brisbane.
Meanwhile Ben and Luka’s two sisters remain here, going to school and work and trying to visit as often as possible to reunite their family.
‘I work at McTavish surfboards and one of our daughters is also in Byron Public in year six so we have to try and keep a bit of a life going here while we’re also supporting our other family up there for nine months,’ he said.
‘We want to bring organic vegetables and farm fresh eggs – the stuff we normally live on down here – to Brisbane so we can keep Luka in the best of health while he is going through this challenge.
Fortunately, friends have rallied together to help out the family – but more assistance is needed.
One of his sisters works at Jordan’s Farm fruit shop in Lennox Head, which has kindly offered 50 cents for each coffee sold.
Other friends have launched a GoFundMe campaign for Luka, which will also help out with expenses.
In time, they hope also to organise a Ride for Luka, given his love of motorbike riding.
‘We hope to support our family while they’re going through this. Any additional funds left over we’re going to give to childhood cancer support charities as a thank-you for helping this family through a tough time.
‘It’s a bit of a goal of ours to raise awareness and raise funds for not only our cause but for other kids and families as well
‘Hopefully Luka will come out the other side as an advocate for kids’ cancer and help inspire other kids as a survivor and give back to his community and show how wonderful this place is for kids and their families,’ Ben said.