Rory Gardiner's Webpage

20, Aug, 2011

Saturday 20th August 2011

The last month has been an exciting time for us, and there have been occasions to celebrate with those we love and care for.  Congratulations to our good friends Cindy, Nev and Havana on the birth of baby Toryn.  We look forward to meeting him, and being part of his life.  Congratulations to my good friend Dianne on her new job with Northland Regional Council, a new beginning, and congratulations to cousin Logan on his double first placings at the Taranaki Science Fair.  You rock! 

Our big news this month is the opportunity for Rory, and our family, to visit Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida, USA.  In March 2010 the Huapai-Kumeu Lions Club, Auckland, contacted Ronald McDonald House with a potential opportunity for one lucky family to visit Disneyworld in Florida.  We were offered this chance.  AirNZ generously offered to substantially discount the airfares for our family.  We had one hurdle to overcome, obtaining travel insurance for Rory.  Despite an exhaustive search, we could not find an insurance company in New Zealand prepared to provide cover for Rory as he had only been in remission for three months.  We were not prepared to travel without cover so had to decline the offer.  We assumed another family would enjoy the opportunity.  In June I received a call from Gavin and Julie from the Huapai-Kumeu Lions saying the offer was still on the table until November.  I was shocked and excited, but cautious as the same hurdle remained.  One insurance company, Chartis, indicated they would consider providing travel cover for Rory if his MRI scan in July did not show any evidence of cancer. In mid July Rory returned to Starship Hospital for his four-monthly monitoring, and thankfully his MRI was clear.  I sent the results to the insurance company and at the end of July we were advised they would provide travel cover.  Yay!  In early August AirNZ generously offered us the same deal on airfares.  We estimate the trip will cost a minimum of $7,000 if we do everything on a shoestring.  We are fundraising as we are on a tight budget.  I have been working with Mandy at Smokeylemon Website Design, who sponsor Rory’s website, to allow anyone who would like to contribute to giving Rory the trip of a lifetime to make a donation.  We are grateful for your support.

Our other big news is we got snow in Inglewood, and plenty of it.  When we woke on Monday morning there was 8cm of snow on the ground and it was falling steadily.  Inglewood Primary was closed for the day, and the road between Inglewood and Stratford was closed so Sean couldn’t get to work.  As soon as they had finished their breakfast and pulled on their coats, leggings and gumboots the boys disappeared outside for two hours.  They rolled a giant snow boulder on our front lawn and had a snowball fight.  We went for a walk to school where some of the teachers and students were sliding down into the hill on real estate signs.  The boys joined them.  We walked into town, enjoying the new sights and playing in the snow and ice. 

The boys returned to school for Term 3.  Sam has had an action packed month.  He gave his speech in the finals with a stomach full of butterflies.  In Week 2 he went to Tui Ridge camp in Rotorua with the 100 other Intermediate students at Inglewood Primary.  He had a fantastic time.  The highlights were; riding the Lakeland Queen paddleboat in Lake Rotorua and getting a jet boat ride back to shore, visiting Mokoia Island, Te Puia geysers and mudpools, and the Polynesian pools.  He thrived on the physical activities; riding the luge, completing a confidence course with high ropes, climbing the rock wall, and riding the flying fox.  It was a vegetarian camp, and Sam isn’t very keen on vegetables, so I think he made the most of the delicious desserts.  Sam was chosen to try out for the Taranaki U12 boys rep soccer team.  He played well in the first trial so made the preliminary cut of 23.  At the second trial he played mediocre so missed out on making the final 16.  He was quite upset, and we were disappointed for him as he is shaping up to be a talented soccer player.  It was a good lesson for him to learn, and I think he will play harder next year. 

Colt is growing like a mushroom and is now 8 months old.  He can sit up on his own for short periods, and is mastering commando crawling.  I continue to feed him, but he is eating more and more solids.  He went on a nursing strike for a week, refusing to feed unless it was on his terms.  It was a challenge.  It is a joy taking him to Space playgroup one morning a week as he enjoys the company of other babies who are also discovering the world and each other.  Our neighbours dropped off a red electric police motorbike for him to ride when he is older.  Sam and Rory have already had him on it. 

Rory has been getting on with life, and I am proud of the way he does this.  Some days in his company I forget he was diagnosed with cancer, but other days he seems so fragile it feels like death is at our door.  I take my cues from Rory and embrace our new ‘normal’.  It is heart warming to see him (and Sam) on the soccer field on Saturday mornings.  Rory had a visit last week from Neuro-developmental therapist Ian Hunter from Australia.  Ian has seen Rory intermittently since diagnosis.  Ian put together a new physical therapy programme for Rory designed to stimulate his brain, challenge his co-ordination and spatial awareness, and work his weak left side.  It includes; commando crawling, rolling on the floor, being hung upside down, hanging on the clothesline, and outside activities (hopping, skipping, using a rope ladder, and backward running). 

Our outdoor activities have been curtailed this month by illness (Sean went down next) and soccer games/trials but we managed to get to two community planting days on the coast at Waitara River mouth and Weld Road.  These were organised by the board riders clubs and funded by the Taranaki Tree Trust (who I work for).  We all got our hands sandy with the locals planting flax, taupata, pingao and spinifex.  Sean and I managed to get out one night for dinner.  The boys ate pizza with Uncle Guy, Sacha and Corbyn, while Sean and I went to the Child Cancer Foundation parents get together in New Plymouth.