Community rallies around sick boy

'He wasn't talking, wasn't walking'

BRONWYN TORRIE
Last updated 05:00 17/01/2013
Jackie Shaw with her son Bostyn, 2, who has a mystery brain growth.
ROSS GIBLIN/Dominion Post
UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Jackie Shaw with her son Bostyn, 2, who has a mystery brain growth. Fundraising events are being organised for the family.

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A community is rallying to help the family of a 2-year-old boy with a mysterious and potentially deadly mass in his brain.

Scans performed on Levin toddler Bostyn Shaw late last year revealed the mass, which doctors are yet to identify.

It is feared it could be inoperable brain cancer, but his family have decided the risks from having a biopsy - death or paralysis - are too great.

Levin businesses and residents have started donating items to be auctioned to fundraise for Bostyn, should he need medical treatment.

Bostyn's mother, Jackie Shaw, said for now it was a waiting game.

"As a mother you're always going to think the worst, but they can't really do anything because of its location."

She took Bostyn to a doctor last year when things didn't seem quite right with her son, including a squint in his right eye.

"He wasn't talking, he wasn't walking. I just had some concerns."

A visit to Palmerston North Hospital to find out whether he had any development issues led to an MRI scan in October, which revealed an unknown mass in the left side of his brain.

He has since been flown twice to Auckland's Starship children's hospital for scans, which showed the growth had not changed.

Not knowing whether anything could be done for Bostyn was the biggest worry, she said.

"We've got no answers so it's pretty much stuck on my mind all the time. We've seen a paediatrician and all the different therapists to see what else could be wrong."

The next scan is scheduled for June, and while Bostyn has started walking, he is yet to form words.

Levin man Warren Thom has organised an auction next Wednesday at the town's Cosmopolitan Club and is auctioning on Trade Me a guitar signed by The Who's Pete Townshend.

All money raised will go into a trust for Bostyn, and if not needed will go to charity.

Mr Thom said he was prompted to help Ms Shaw, who is a solo mum, after watching his granddaughter Alessandra Millie Clements, of Porirua, undergo treatment for a brain tumour.

She was diagnosed in 2010, and after months of intensive chemotherapy, she is now in remission.

"Everything changes. My family had tremendous support from family, friends and the wider community and they needed it. They could never have survived without it. I felt that somebody should pick up and help Jackie."

Ms Shaw said she was touched by the support. "It's just ‘wow', I don't know what to say about what he's done for us."

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Bostyn is the youngest of five children and although the two fathers of Ms Shaw's children pay monthly child support, money is still tight.

Ms Shaw works nights as a caregiver while her mother looks after the children.

- The Dominion Post

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