Three-year-old Xavier Michelle often dresses up for
kindergarten but yesterday everyone at Reid Park Kindergarten
did it in support of him for a One Day for Child Cancer
For the Dunedin children, it was a chance to dress up and
learn more about child cancer, but for Xavier it was just
another day in his battle with the disease.
He was full of smiles as he played with the other children
and showed them his ''beads of courage'', each one awarded
for a treatment procedure he had gone through. He has nearly
Diagnosed at just 18 months old, Xavier has been battling
acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, the most common type of cancer
His mother, Bec Michelle, said the treatment was going well
and was all on track.
''There is a 90% cure rate for this type of cancer, so his
chances are really good.''
Regardless, it was not something any parent would want their
child to go through, she said.
Xavier's treatment would take three and a-half years, and for
his parents, Bec and Gareth, and Xavier's older brother,
Oliver (5), it is a waiting game until next May when his
treatment finishes. For the first seven weeks of Xavier's
treatment, the family travelled to Christchurch Hospital, but
since then he had been treated at Dunedin Hospital.
Xavier was now in the phase of treatment called
He visited the hospital once a month for chemotherapy, with
other treatment done at home, including oral chemotherapy,
daily medication, and steroids once a month.
Xavier also had chemotherapy into his spinal fluid every
three months, Mrs Michelle said.
''He doesn't complain and just gets on with it.''
Xavier went to kindergarten three mornings a week, except
when he was too ill or too tired.
Because his immune system was weak, he had to stay at home
when any bugs were going around.
''We have got to be really careful,'' she said.
Mrs Michelle said Xavier had been ''so excited about [the
fundraiser] all week''.
Inspired by Xavier's love for dressing up, the children
dressed as what they wanted to be when they grew up. Xavier
wore All Blacks gear - he he wanted to play rugby once his
Port-A-Cath was taken out, Mrs Michelle said.
Proceeds from face-painting and a coin and paper trail went
to Child Cancer.
Reid Park Kindergarten vice-president Janet McDonald said the
cause was one close to home and a good way to raise
awareness. It was ''a reminder for the kids of what Xavier is
going through''. He was one of the kindergarten's ''awesome
Anyone wanting to take part in the One Day for Child Cancer
or donate to the cause can visit the Child Cancer Foundation
website for more information.
- Bridget Rutherford.