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Active again

Aplastic anemia took so much from Terangi-Uira; however, a bone marrow transplant gave him life again – and that, combined with a new swing set from Satan’s Little Helper, has re-energised him back to being an active, happy little kid!

Terangi-Uira loves his Satan's Little Helper gift

Aplastic anemia is a terrible condition that occurs when a person’s bone marrow stops producing enough new blood cells. It can lead to serious complications such as leukemia and, in the case of six-year-old Terangi-Uira, it robbed him of nearly a year of his life.

“He was only four when he was diagnosed,” explains his mum Mya. “It came completely out of the blue. One minute he was a healthy young boy, full of life, the next he couldn’t move because he’d get constant fevers.”

Because of his persistent illness, Mya took Terangi-Uira to the hospital, where doctors delivered earth-shattering news.

Anxious wait

“I was told he’d need a bone marrow transplant, but because we’re Māori, it took them three months to find a donor as there weren’t many Polynesian or Māori donors on the national bone marrow registry. We couldn’t even find a match in New Zealand – the person was living in America!”

The months between diagnosis and transplant were incredibly tough for Mya and Terangi-Uira, who was on transfusions three times a week. Mya came close to losing her little boy on multiple occasions.

The whānau was also impacted by the sad passing of Mya’s mum, who had been diagnosed with cancer at the same time as Terangi-Uira.

“My mum and Terangi-Uira were in hospital at the same time, which was sort of nice for them because they supported each other through it. They were like best friends.”

A life indoors

Starship became the family’s home away from home. Terangi-Uira spent eight months there and couldn’t leave his room for four months – a massive ordeal to put a lively, active four-year-old through.

Thankfully, Mya says it looks like he’s on the road to recovery.

“His new bone marrow is producing blood cells again, which is awesome. His platelets are a little low, so he still bruises easily and is prone to getting a bloody nose but, on the whole, his progress has been good.”

Swinging and winning

For Terangi-Uira, one of the worst aspects of his treatment was that he couldn’t do the things he loved. So, to help make up for lost time, Satan’s Little Helper provided a brand-new swing set!

“He hates being inside, so his time at Starship was hell for him,” says Mya. “The swing set has been amazing. It has encouraged him to play and be as active as possible. It’s also helped him recover some strength and mobility. Plus, it’s been a great way for him to interact with his brothers Tupara and Mouritau.”

Now Terangi-Uira is looking forward to summer, so he can spend even more time outside – and, after missing so much school, he has set himself a goal of 100% attendance between now and the end of the school year!




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