Archie Mahon often wakes up smiling.
His parents, Sally Wildon and Dan Mahon of Jindera, have even found the happy five-year-old laughing in his sleep.
“He’s a bit of a nutcase,” Mr Mahon joked. “You won’t meet many happier children than Archie.”
But the five-year-old didn’t have an easy start to life, being diagnosed with cancer, rhabdomyosarcoma, at only 19 months old.
Before his diagnosis, Archie had issues with his nose, would wake up screaming and had multiple sinus infections.
“We never put it together but he actually had a tumour growing in his sinus,” Ms Wildon said.
From there, little Archie had multiple surgeries to remove the tumour and eight months of chemotherapy – with his family frequently travelling from the Border to Melbourne, either as a group or Ms Wildon having to take Archie alone.
Six months later, his tumour had returned.
Wanting to minimise the disruptions to Archie’s brother and their time apart, the family temporarily relocated to Melbourne while Archie underwent more operations, 14 months of chemotherapy and eight weeks of radiation therapy.
After more than a year away from home, the family were relieved to be able to move back home while Archie underwent a European trial of low-dose chemotherapy at the children’s wing of Albury hospital.
“You’re just living in hospital world there for a while, which is quite strange,” Mr Mahon said of their time in Melbourne.
“For the boys as well they’re getting dragged off to Melbourne spending pretty much their time in hospital.
“To actually come back and be able to spend time with their friends, it’s important for them.”
An $80,000 donation by Albury’s SS&A Club will allow for more children like Archie to be treated at home.
Club president Eddie Dunlop said seeing the equipment installed was an emotional day while chief executive officer Gerard Darmody said giving back was an important part of the club.
Paediatrics nurse unit manager Sam Peet said the donation upgraded the ward’s central monitoring system which allows children in isolation to be monitored from the nurses desk.
Now out of hospital, hopefully for good, happy little Archie is hoping to grow up to become Superman.
“He has suffered so he knows the difference,” Ms Wildon said.
“He can really appreciate feeling good and things being good. He appreciates being able to get out and have the energy to enjoy things, so he really does make the most of everything.”
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