A family and community are helping a teenage boy fulfil a life’s worth of goals in months after doctors discovered a 10kg cancerous tumour in his stomach.
Josh, 15, began experiencing severe pain in December last year but doctors initially couldn’t find anything wrong and sent him home with Panadol, his mum Lynda Speak, 47, told Yahoo News Australia on Friday.
During the busy Christmas season, Josh, who lives in Lismore, NSW, with his mum and one of his two older sisters, began to feel worse and was tired all the time.
Ms Speak took Josh to the Queensland Children’s Hospital where he underwent a biopsy and doctors diagnosed him with cic dux sarcoma, a rare soft tissue tumour weighing 10kgs growing on his left kidney.
It was pushing on his diaphragm, crushing his leg, lung and heart.
He began chemotherapy almost immediately but it didn’t have any effect on the tumour and it was actually getting bigger, Ms Speak said.
Seven weeks after being diagnosed Josh underwent surgery to remove as much of the tumour as doctors could.
Because of the size of the tumour, the teenager also had to have his kidney, spleen, tail of his pancreas, parts of his liver and stomach and colon removed.
Radiation and more chemotherapy followed, Ms Speak said, but on August 29 specialists told them they were ineffective and new tumours had grown.
There are no treatment options left.
“Words could never explain the emotional and physical toll this has taken on us all but particularly on Josh who has had to endure so much only to be told he can’t beat it,” Ms Speak said.
Josh’s family and their community are now working to tick off as much as they can from his bucket list.
Earlier this year they spent a few nights on a donated houseboat before heading to Darwin for two weeks.
There they went carting, sailboating, jet skiing and swam with crocodiles.
The family also travelled to Kakadu where they took a helicopter ride.
Ms Speak said so many people have come forward with donations and coupons to help Josh fulfil his wishes.
Her sister Karen created a GoFundMe for the teenager to help the family continue to check off bucket list items while paying for bills.
Josh turns 16 on Wednesday and is hoping to take a hot air ballon ride that morning to celebrate before joining friends for a party, Ms Speak said.
Close friends and family members even helped Ms Speak finish her front yard renovations.
“I’m quite blown away. Completely blessed and overwhelmed,” she said.
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