Hunter's story

Share
This

HunterFive-year-old Hunter's favourite place is the dog park where he loves to pat all the dogs.

So last year when he suddenly lost all interest in playing in the park and was exhausted all the time, his mum and dad were worried.

"All Hunter wanted to do was sleep. He was achy and had so little energy he could hardly get out of bed. He wasn’t his usual happy self," mum Bridie said.

After numerous GP appointments and trips to hospital, a doctor arranged for a blood test.

Late that night, Bridie got a phone call asking her to urgently bring Hunter to the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne. 

Within hours, their lives were shattered.

Hunter and family

Hunter was diagnosed with Leukaemia. His blood haemoglobin level was 27; a healthy child's level should be around 150.  He was rushed into intensive care to try and stabilise his blood counts so that he could begin chemotherapy.

Open Quote Image
We never expected to be told that Hunter had cancer. I think as a parent you just don't allow thoughts like that to enter your mind, until suddenly you have no choice.
Close Quote Image
Hunter's mum, Bridie

Bridie describes those early days in hospital as the worst days of her life.

"Hunter was constantly having needles and we had to help hold him down. He was so distressed that the doctors gave him sedatives which made him sick and vomit everywhere. It was heartbreaking to watch him go through it all."

Since then, every part of their lives has changed. Bridie stopped working to care for Hunter full-time and other daughter Tiahna stayed with her grandparents so dad Christopher could continue working. Being in hospital for months on end, Hunter missed going to pre-school and he missed his big sister terribly. 

Hunter in hospital

Open Quote Image
I feel like the hardest part for Hunter is having to be brave. The constant medications, scans, X-rays, surgeries and procedures and suddenly being confined to a hospital room. So much happens all at once that, there's no time to adjust.
Close Quote Image
Hunter's mum, Bridie

Amid so much sadness, Starlight has brought the family vital moments of happiness helping them cope with the unrelenting pain of Hunter's treatment.

When Hunter was too unwell to leave his hospital bed, he loved visits from the Captain Starlights - and he especially loved their jokes! Chatting and laughing with Captain Starlight helped break up the long, lonely days in hospital.

Hunter and sister in Starlight Express Room

Open Quote Image
Captain Starlight is the highlight of the day for a child confined to a hospital room for weeks at a time. I was so grateful to see Hunter smiling and being a happy kid again.
Close Quote Image
Hunter's mum, Bridie

Hunter and sister with SantaLast December, Hunter's condition worsened, and the family spent the remainder of the year in and out of hospital. Doctors told the family to prepare for the possibility of being in hospital at Christmas. "It was such an anxious time as I really wanted to wake up on Christmas morning as a family for the kids," Bridie said.

Thankfully, although Hunter was not well, he got to celebrate Christmas Day at home.

Sadly, the special family time together was cut short due to Hunter's unstable condition, and Hunter was admitted to hospital again, spending the remaining holiday period undergoing more treatment. 

During his long stays in hospital Hunter loved watching his favourite dog movie 101 Dalmatians over and over. It reminded him of all the dogs he used to pat in the park!

When he found out the exciting news that he’d been granted a Starlight Wish, his mum said  a puppy was always going to top his list.

The family decided on a gorgeous Dalmatian puppy who Hunter called Rocky.

While Hunter was in hospital when Rocky arrived, the excitement and anticipation of meeting his new loyal companion gave him something positive to look forward to.

Hunter and puppy Rocky

Hunter and Rocky have been best friends since the day they met.

Open Quote Image
Starlight has brought our family so much joy. I'm so thankful to the supporters who make this happiness possible. I can't imagine how we would have got through all this without Starlight being there.
Close Quote Image
Hunter's mum, Bridie
Stories like these are only made possible thanks to our generous supporters. If you'd like to help make a difference for a child, you can donate below.
> Make a Donation

Share This

More Starlight Stories

Discover the many ways Starlight and our supporters help light up a sick child’s life

Starlight Kid
Starlight Kid
Starlight Kid
Starlight Kid
Winston is known as the 'Little Fighter' in his family.
Starlight Kid
Starlight Kid
12-year-old Alyssar and her family have had to deal with hospital and treatment since she was diagnosed with Sickle Cell disease at just two years old.

Keep in touch with Starlight

By signing up, I agree to receive news & fundraising information emails from Starlight. Information collected is in accordance with our Privacy Policy