Nabiac mum and business woman, Berlinda Neale is on a journey like no other, lacing up her most comfortable sneakers in an effort to complete a marathon 250 kilometre trek around the streets of Nabiac to raise money in the name of Camp Quality.
But, her walk pales into almost insignificance compared to the harrowing journey Berlinda, husband Craig, daughter Erica (16) and Cody (14) endured for eight years.
Back in 2012 the then five-year-old Cody was diagnosed with acute lympoblastic leukemia and given just two weeks to live.
Debilitating tiredness, night fevers and a sore throat were initially believed to be associated with a minor infection, at worst glandular fever.
But, after turning 'yellow' Cody was rushed to Manning Hospital, undertook a series of tests , including a panful bone marrow sample, before receiving the grim diagnosis.
Following an urgent blood transfusion, Cody was rushed to John Hunter where he underwent a gruelling eight months of intensive chemotherapy, along with a succession of painful needles and surgeries.
Adding to Cody's health woes, early in his treatment the youngster also contracted golden staph from an open wound from the portacath (a small device inserted into the skin to provide treatment).
Despite losing his hair, the brave five-year-old 'soldiered on' generally oblivious to either the seriousness of his condition.
Camp Quality has been a lifesaver; it gave us something to look forward to." - including the formation of life-long friendships.- Berlinda Neale
"He didn't care about his hair; and he always smiled."
Before returning to the classroom at Nabiac Public School, students were educated about Cody's conditions through the publication , Monkey in My Chair a book and program which connects and educates both cancer patients and their classmates.
"By the time Cody came to school students knew he was not contagious and why he sometimes had to miss school."
Throughout his treatment, and until earlier this year, Cody and his family were supported by Camp Quality, a charity which helps young patients and their family deal with the trauma associated with childhood cancers.
"They were the first people we met (while staying at Ronald McDonald House).
Families are given a welcome pack and offered counselling, while entertainment distractions help the kids forget what they are going through.
"Your world is turned upside down."
Ever grateful for the Camp Quality support, Berlinda said it gave parents the opportunity to talk, and cry, and at the same time the opportunity for kids to hang out with other kids coping with various stages of cancer treatment.
"Camp Quality has been a lifesaver; it gave us something to look forward to." - including the formation of life-long friendships.
"The first thing the kids did at their first camp was show-off their (portacath) scars."
Today, the now Year 8 Taree Christian School student is completely cancer free.
But, that is not the end of the Neale family's journey.
Berlinda's challenge is to complete her marathon Big Walk for Little Kids during September to give more than 2500 ill children a break from cancer.
"I want to raise money for other families."
She is keen to top last year's $1500 donation.
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