'A choice no parent should have to make'
On December 31, my little 19-month-old nephew, Petar Himi Alexandar Batistich, was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
He was transported from Waikato Hospital to Starship Hospital on January 1, 2014. At a time when he should have been with family and friends celebrating another year of fun, learning and experiencing life, he was in hospital having MRIs, X-rays, EEGs and biopsies performed on him.
It took its toll on little Petar's mum, Josephine Batistich, and dad, Bowen Batistich, as they had no idea what was in store for them or their little boy.
Days of being in the high-dependency unit, sitting in his cot looking around at four walls was hard enough, let alone anything else.
Six to eight days after being admitted, short walks around the ward were finally allowed.
Family and friends visited everyday offering support of all kind, anything that could make it slightly easier for the Batistichs.
Bowen worked full time in Huntly and relied on the generosity of family, friends and neighbours for a car so he could make the trip up to Auckland on a Friday to spend the weekend with his son and wife. Then he'd head back home again on Sunday for work Monday.
Josephine stayed at the Ronald McDonald house at night. This house was great; the support they offer is invaluable.
Two and a half weeks in, the dreaded day arrived when we found out what it is exactly that Petar had: a very aggressive form of cancer called an atypical teratoid rhadboid tumour.
The tumour is sitting on the frontal lobes of the brain, and is inoperable. This particular tumour is very rare, with only two or three children diagnosed in New Zealand every two years.
The outcome is almost always the same. Life expectancy is short and treatment options are limited due to age. There is no cure.
Petar could only have chemotherapy, and that would not increase his chances by a lot - if any - of surviving the two years needed to be able to have radiation therapy.
This type of tumour is not sensitive to radiation, therefore if radiation was to happen they would need to use excessive amounts to make any kind of difference. That would leave this little man severely disabled.
Josephine and Bowen, with all this information on board, had to make the choice - quality or quantity? It's a choice no parent should have to make, but they have.
Petar was discharged from hospital on January, 28 2014, 27 days after being admitted. He has been taken home to be with family and friends.
The family is now fundraising to help create some lifelong memories for Josephine, Bowen and Petar's siblings Kataraina, Tatiana and Lucius.
To donate, visit: http:/www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/petarfund.