Double delight for Riley's family

Last updated 05:00 27/06/2012
Riley Costar, 5, and his mum, Tracy
SURPRISED: Riley Costar, 5, and his mum, Tracy, returned from Starship Hospital on Sunday to find themselves with a new backyard.

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A double dose of good news was received by the Costar family last weekend after a trip to Starship Hospital in Auckland.

Five-year-old Riley was at Starship last week to have his final round of chemotherapy, after being diagnosed with anaplastic large-cell lymphoma in January.

Following the treatment, mum Tracey said they were told that Riley was well on his way to remission.

"All of the pediatricians are really happy with his progress," she said.

Mrs Costar said as far as doctors were aware, the cancer had gone, although Riley would continue to be monitored for the next two years.

The Costars' second bout of good news came when they returned from Starship on Sunday to find themselves with a new back yard.

Taranaki and North Island businesses, along with members of the Inglewood community, had "mucked in" over the weekend to put up new fences, plant trees and create a new vegetable garden for the family.

Toys, gumboots, and a new playground had also been donated by people wanting to help.

Mrs Costar said it was overwhelming to experience such a feeling of support from those who had stepped forward to help.

"It was really great to come home to.

"I just want to say a general thank you to everyone who has donated money and shown their support in different ways.

"It has made the journey a lot easier knowing that the support has been there."

In April, the Taranaki Daily News ran an article after a fundraising tin for Riley was taken from Oscar's Cafe in Inglewood.

St Patrick's School teacher Sonia Rova, who teaches Riley's brother Neo, 8, said that, although the tin had never been recovered, many people had donated money to the school after reading the article.

Ms Rova was a big part of the muck-in last weekend, and said there were many more fundraising ideas in the pipeline to help the Costar family.

"It's an ongoing thing for them and they're going to need support for a long time," she said.

"Everyone has been great in getting behind it."

Because of his illness, Riley was unable to start school at St Patricks when he turned five in March, but Mrs Costar said he wouldn't be far away from his first day.

"All going well, he should be able to start school in about four months," she said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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