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Pape Taana was diagnosed on Tuesday last week and was flown to Christchurch for treatment the next morning. His mother Moana Taana and brother Koiatu Taana (16) went with him.
Moana's older sister, Mamateinaki Taana, said Pape was the youngest of Moana's four children. He was in year 5 at Carisbrook School and loved everything to do with professional wrestling.
Pape was taken to the doctor after his grandmother became worried about how pale he was looking, Ms Taana said. The only sign there might have been something wrong was that Pape vomited several times at school.
The blow had been especially hard as one of Moana's other children, Teremoana Taana (13), was already in Dunedin Hospital with pneumonia.
Ms Taana said Pape had started chemotherapy treatment, which could last up to six weeks. He would have to continue treatment on and off for up to four years.
The community was rallying to help the family. Ms Taana and others were baking doughnuts and selling them on Facebook to raise money to help Moana pay her bills. They hoped to raise enough to send Pape a box of goodies, and even hire some vans so family members could travel to Christchurch to support him and his mother.
• Anyone wanting to help can contact Child Cancer Foundation family support co-ordinator Christine Donovan on 471-7258 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org