Tyson Hollran was ready to return to school in February. He was four months away from completing his cancer treatment, and was excited to “kick cancer’s ass” for good.
He had 810 Child Cancer Foundation Beads of Courage at the time, each one representative of a different stage of his battle with cancer.
He has 965 beads now, because in April, he relapsed.
“We were so close to the end of treatment, so close,” said Awhi, Tyson’s mother.
During a routine check Tyson found a lump; in the following days he developed a temperature, and a scan quickly confirmed that the lump was the manifestation of his acute lymphoblastic leukaemia returning.
“They didn’t say anything at the scan, but I could definitely tell that there was something wrong, as I saw a little black spot. I said to Alex, there is definitely something there, I can see it myself,” said Awhi.
“I don’t understand how life can be so cruel sometimes, but I just hope we can get Tys to that finish line for good this time.”
The brave 12-year-old started a new regime of chemotherapy this week, and is completing a 12 day course of radiotherapy.
“When he was first diagnosed, the treatment that he was on was just low doses of chemo, and that obviously worked quite well. This time, it’s basically all high dose chemo, so it is a lot stronger, a lot more intensive, and a lot harder on his body,” said Awhi.
The toxicity of Tyson’s treatment has the potential to impact his ability to walk, talk, and eat.
It has caused him to lose his hair again, and to show him that they’re in it together, Awhi has shaved her hair as well.
“He is quite worried about what could happen to him, definitely a lot more worried than the first time he went through it,” said Alex, Tyson’s father.
“He has had a couple of cries and has said that he doesn’t want anything to happen to him. He never really said those sorts of things the first time.”
He was supposed to have returned to school within the first half of this year, but unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to. Awhi says because of his treatment, it is unlikely he will return until late next year, when he begins his first year of high school.
Despite everything, Tyson has kept his spirits high. To help him along his journey, he has received a wealth of support from his friends, family, and his Te Awamutu Intermediate teacher, Logan Kimber.
“His teacher is actually so cool. He sent a video to Tyson of his classmates, saying they miss him and can’t wait to have him back,” Awhi said. “It definitely put a smile on his face.”
“We are so collectively gutted that Tyson has had to go through this once, let alone twice,” said Kimber.
“He has shown such strength and courage, the least we can do is find ways to show him that we are all in his corner.
“The kids wanted to get some messages to him, and we figured a video would be a good way to do that so he could see some familiar faces.”
When Tyson was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2020, he told his parents “don’t worry mum and dad, I’m going to smash it,” – four months later, he was in remission.
Tyson is by no means out of the woods yet, but a scan last week revealed that he indeed is “smashing it,” as his lump had already reduced in size.
“We are hoping that the chemo and radiation will just wipe it out and he’ll go into remission again, and stay in remission,” said Awhi.
Tyson’s family have a set up a Givealittle page for financial support: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/tysons-ongoing-battle-with-leukemia