He’s only five and he is fighting for his life. Local boy Luka Monroe is undergoing treatment for a massive tumour that was found growing in his kidney in February at the Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane and his school is right behind him.
Luka was diagnosed with the cancer after he started getting stabbing pains in his stomach, the cancer was quickly diagnosed and was transferred to the Children’s Hospital where he has now received eight chemotherapy treatments. The treatments aim to reduce the tumour’s size so that they can operate to remove both the tumour and the kidney. Luka is living at a special apartment near the hospital with his mother Usa, who has given up her job to spend the nine months there that it will take to undergo the chemo.
‘They have to be very, very careful. With the chemo treatment it not only gets rid of the cancer cells – it doesn’t discriminate between killing good and bad cells and as a result he has a weak immune system – so he can’t be exposed to any infection,’ explained Ben.
‘He has to be within 20 minutes of the hospital at all times and has to wear a mask in public. If there is any sign of a cold or infection he has to be taken straight to hospital. He’s been taken twice but we were lucky it turned out not to be an infection.’
Kids on board
The student council at Byron Bay Public School, that he and one of his older sisters attend, decided that they really wanted to help Luka and his family. As Luka has always loved music they decided to put on a silent disco. The kids had a great time signing away and calling especially loudly to each other because they were wearing headphones – so it wasn’t quiet as silent as the name suggests!
They raised $2,000 with the event and it was decided that it would be split between the school and Luka’s family 50/50.
‘The school is going to buy musical instruments with their share which is great because Luka loves music,’ said Ben happily.
The $1,000 for Luka has been split 60/40 with $400 being used to buy some things they needed for Luka and the other $600 being donated to the Cancer Council office in Byron Bay.
‘They have provided us with support and I didn’t understand just how many families and individuals are affected by cancer. My heart goes out to people and that’s why we gave the money to the cancer council,’ Ben explained.
While Luka is missing living in the Bay, surfing and his motorbike Ben said he is responding well to the treatment.
‘Luka is doing really well. He is an inspiration to his mother and I. He’s such a trooper. The tumour is now one third of the size from when it was diagnosed in February. It has gone from a diameter of 81mm to 55mm at its widest point. He’s on course and travelling really well. He will be able to have the tumour and kidney removed one go.’
Friends have also launched a GoFundMePage to raise money for Luka and his family to assist with expenses.