Family keep Zane's life happy

Mum 'blown away' by generosity

TERRI RUSSELL
Last updated 05:00 07/09/2012
zane strudwicke
DAVID HALLETT

QUALITY TIME: Zane Strudwicke, 3, with his family, mum Donna Hansen, dad Blair Strudwicke and sister Jakaya Strudwicke, 8, at the Ronald McDonald House in Christchurch.

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Three-year-old Zane Strudwicke is a happy little boy who loves spending time with friends at playcentre.

He also has terminal cancer.

Diagnosed last month, he has spent the past few weeks receiving treatment in Christchurch, but his family brought him home to Wallacetown this week, hoping to make his last days as enjoyable as possible.

His mother, Donna Hansen, said the family first became aware that something was not quite right when nearly half the children at Zane's playcentre caught a stomach bug.

"Inside myself I knew, I knew right from the start - it wasn't just vomiting," Ms Hansen said.

After a day in hospital Zane was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

He was immediately flown to Christchurch Hospital where tests revealed another three tumours in his brain, and the cancer had spread to his spine.

The largest tumour was removed but it was too dangerous to operate on the remaining tumours, and they decided to bring him home, his mum said.

"Zane's going to go home for palliative care," Ms Hansen said.

"We want him to have a happy life - to see his friends, go to school with his sister Jakaya.

"It's hard because Jakaya's 8, she's going to go through a lot as well."

The decision was hard but they wanted to do what was best for Zane, she said.

"We don't know Zane's life expectancy . . . We want to do everything we can with him."

The news comes three years after Zane's father, Blair Strudwicke, was diagnosed with a brain tumour and given three months to live. His tumour was later found to be benign.

There was no connection between the father and son's tumours, Ms Hansen said.

The Southland community had been extremely supportive and she was overwhelmed by the generosity, she said.

"A lot of people are digging deep into their own pockets, it's quite breathtaking.

"It has just blown me away, I am truly and utterly lost for words by what everyone has done," Ms Hansen said.

Family and friends ran a working bee at their home on Saturday. Helpers were busy gardening, cleaning and stocking the fridge ready for the family's arrival from Christchurch yesterday afternoon. Both cars were re-registered and the local fire brigade filled up the property's water tanks.

Former All Black Jimmy Cowan donated his signed 2011 Rugby World Cup jersey, which has been auctioned on Trade Me. The item attracted more than 2500 views since Sunday and bidding has so far reached more than $1000.

Cowan said he was more than happy to support the cause.

"It's the least that I could do," he said.

"I'm only too willing to help; what better way, to donate the jersey, from all the boys," he said.

Cowan said that he heard about Zane's illness through his girlfriend, who had connections with the family. "I wish the young fella all the best as he goes forward and I hope people keep bidding and they get as much money as they can for it."

A raffle has also been organised, with tickets being sold across Southland. Prizes include a family gondola pass, accommodation and meal vouchers.

HOW TO DONATE

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Donations to Zane's apeal can be made online or at any Westpac New Zealand branch. Name: Family of Zane Account number: 031742077428800 Include your surname as a reference so the family can show their appreciation. Fundraising ideas can be posted at stayingstrongforzane.org.nz.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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