Christmas Eve is usually filled with fun and excitement. Sadly, for mum Rachelle, Christmas Eve 2008 will be remembered as the day that changed their lives forever.

Koby had been pale and unwell with a fever and had started to bruise easily. His older brother had been sick the week before so Rachelle thought at the time he'd probably picked up the same bug.

To be sure he was ok before they headed off for a family camping trip, she took Koby for a check-up at the hospital.

Her little baby boy, not even two years old, was tragically diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.

Koby in hospital bed with mum Rachelle

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At the moment of diagnosis, our family felt lost and overwhelmed and in complete shock. We just couldn't understand that this was really happening. It felt surreal.
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Koby's mum, Rachelle

Koby started treatment straight away at the Sydney Children's Hospital in Randwick.

Koby and mum Rachelle in hospital

It was heartbreaking for Koby's two older brothers Zac and Hayden to cope with their younger brother being so ill and suddenly their mum being separated from them too.

"Our focus was on supporting each other through this long journey and praying that a miracle would occur. I concentrated all my time on Koby's treatment which unfortunately meant being away from the older two boys, and I felt guilt-ridden," she recalls.

Koby and his brothers in the spa

She says looking back, she's not sure how they would have coped without Starlight's services in hospital.

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Starlight helped us get through a tough journey by distracting us with happy moments and supporting us continuously. Not having Captain Starlight around during Koby's treatment would have made our journey quite grim.
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Koby's mum, Rachelle

Koby's face would light up whenever the Captain Starlights visited him on the hospital wards. Those moments of joy and laughter helped Koby during the long days when he was confined to his hospital bed in isolation.

Koby and mum Rachelle in the Starlight Express Room

Rachelle said Starlight helped make hospital less scary for Koby as he looked forward to seeing the Captains and was excited to do craft and watch movies in the Starlight Express Room.

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The Starlight Express Room gave us important time to have fun together and it was great to meet other families who understood what we were going through.
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Koby's mum, Rachelle

Koby older in hospital

Koby and younger brother RoccoNow 12, Koby still loves to visit the Starlight Express Room to support his younger brother Rocco who has Spina Bifida and Epilepsy.

Koby and Rocco have a strong bond and Koby is very protective of his little brother. Having endured his own health battles, Koby goes the extra mile for Rocco and the boys banded together from day one.

Rachelle says Koby has so much compassion and is the first to help others. "Koby's got such a caring nature, he never complains and has endless patience."

Koby is made to feel so welcome every time he visits the Starlight Express Room and always leaves with a smile on his face. Thankfully he's also now in remission from cancer.

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Starlight has been a vital part of our family for over a decade. The benefits are endless. They change families' lives in such a positive way. Starlight brightens your world when it seems like there's no end in sight.
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Koby's mum, Rachelle

Koby with brothers and mum

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