Family with sick boy preyed upon
A Lower Hutt family away from home with their cancer-stricken toddler have already been burgled twice and stung by a web scammer. Now they've been robbed again - this time as they await a potentially life-saving transplant.
Today marks three months - and three rounds of chemotherapy - since 15-month-old Daniel Williamson was diagnosed with cancer. His parents received the diagnosis just three days before Christmas, and have since had to deal with additional heartbreak as criminals preyed on them.
The Williamsons left their Alicetown house the same day Daniel was diagnosed to get him urgent treatment at a child cancer unit in Christchurch, where he remains with his mother.
The toddler's treatment began on New Year's Eve and there is some hope for parents Caroline and Darren Williamson as they anticipate a trip to Starship children's hospital in Auckland in coming weeks.
"He is going into his bone marrow transplant in the best state that he can," Mrs Williamson said.
Burglars twice struck their home in the days after they left for Christchurch. First they made off with the family car, and then returned the next night and broke into the house.
Then in January a web scammer added to the family's woes, setting up a fake Facebook page asking for money for Daniel via an American donations website.
Mrs Williamson has since received word that they have been burgled again. She said a neighbour witnessed people making off with an old stereo and speakers from their sleepout two weeks ago.
However, the contents of the sleepout, which already had a broken window, were destined for the tip and this latest incident was the least of the family's worries, she said.
"If you're going to get in trouble for something, why would you go into a building that is clearly not used for anything to take something that has surely got no value?"
In the meantime, the family has been overwhelmed by the generosity of the public during their plight.
A Give a Little page set up by the family's friends for "Super Daniel" has now raised almost $12,000 - only $3000 short of its target.
Mrs Williamson said there was hope for her son.
"At this stage I'm tired and I'd like to go home, but there's a little bit longer to go till we're OK," she said. "We are cautiously optimistic."
The Dominion Post