Support stuns brave boy's family
He has received support from the All Blacks, the Manawatu Turbos and even from the captain of the French rugby team, and now a concert is being held in tribute to a brave Manawatu boy battling a brain tumour.
Gino Carroll, 10, from Bunnythorpe, was diagnosed two months ago after he suddenly lost his sight.
Gino's parents are both deaf, which meant a interpreter was needed to communicate the diagnosis to the family using sign language. Since then he has undergone intensive treatment at Auckland's Starship Children's Hospital.
The bright St Joseph's pupil is a keen rugby fan, and Gino has been buoyed by visits from heroes including All Black Aaron Cruden.
Gino's uncle Reihana Haronga said his nephew's strength had amazed the family.
"He is just the bravest wee chap. As long as there is a smile on his face every one else is happy."
He had recently visited his St Joseph's classmates and shared his experience with the other children, Haronga said.
"What blew me away was when I thought he didn't want to answer any questions and the first one asked was what was it like to have his hair shaved off, and he just took off his hat and showed them his scars.
"I was quite blown away with his openness with his peers. He was using medical terms and he just knew all the lingo."
Gino had visited Palmerston North twice since his diagnosis and said he was looking forward to spending Christmas with his friends and family.
But he will miss the concert "Get Together For Gino" being held in his honour, as he undergoes more chemotherapy and an MRI scan that will determine whether the tumour is operable.
At present a shunt has been inserted under his skull to divert spinal cord fluid around the tumour.
Support for the Carrolls has swept the community.
Haronga's adopted son Kaden Penman, 7, a former pupil at Hokowhitu School, and now at Northcote Primary in Auckland, shaved off his hair in support of his cousin last month, raising thousands of dollars in the process.
And earlier in October, 19-year-old Sam Mutch from Palmerston North set himself a goal to raise $5000 in five days to help pay the family's bills and other costs related to Gino's treatment.
Mutch and his helpers raised more than $10,000 for the Carroll family.
"We have been blown away by all the support and everything, by people giving and the generosity of people like Sam," Haronga said.
Get Together For Gino, featuring local artists performing at the Feilding Civic Centre begins at 7pm on December 8. Tickets are $10, pre-booked through Feilding Information Centre.