A rare medical condition has robbed Hayden Veitch of a carefree childhood, but he'll get to experience every youngster's dream when he jets off to Disneyland in a few months.
The trip has been made possible through the generosity of Illawarra businesses and residents - many of whom don't even know the nine-year-old Flinders boy.
His mother, Leanne Venables, is amazed at the show of community support led by Figtree barber Nudge Mieli.
"Hayden was in hospital for his third operation in September when my brother [Mark Lucas] asked him what he could do to make him feel better," she said. "Hayden told him he wanted to go to Disneyland.
"We didn't think any more of it but then at my brother's engagement party earlier this month he announced that the community had raised over $10,000 for a family holiday to Disneyland which was just mind-blowing.
"This will give Hayden a nice break after all the hard times he's had to go through.
"It's given him something to look forward to, and will give him the chance to enjoy just being a kid."
Hayden was diagnosed with pilocytic astrocytoma, a benign slow-growing tumour on his brain stem, in December 2009. He had suddenly switched from being right-handed to using his left hand; his speech was becoming slurred and he was getting clumsy, tripping over his own feet.
The extensive surgery to remove the tumour was spread over two operations, in December 2009 and February 2010, at Sydney Children's Hospital at Randwick. Hayden improved but by September this year the tumour had grown and was again putting pressure on his nerves.
"They can't get rid of the tumour completely because of where it is, so they just take away as much as they can safely," Ms Venables said. "So it means there are more operations ... to come."
Mr Mieli, who runs Cut It Out barbers, found out about Hayden's wish through his uncle, Mr Lucas.
"When Mark told me about Hayden's wish I had to do something - I've got kids, I've got a nine-year-old son," he said.
"So four weeks ago I put it out there on Facebook and since then we've raised over $11,000. Businesses have pitched in, friends and family, people we don't even know - it shows what a great community we live in."