Mt Warrigal toddler's brave battle against cancer

Renee Miller with her 15-month-old son Joshua, who is battling cancer. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Renee Miller with her 15-month-old son Joshua, who is battling cancer. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Last week, doctors told Mount Warrigal couple Renee Miller and Jason Cassar to say goodbye to their baby boy Joshua, who was diagnosed with cancer just after his first birthday.

Joshua, now 15 months, had developed a life-threatening disease (hepatotoxicity) from the very chemotherapy drugs that were supposed to be saving his life, and his liver was failing.

But the brave little boy battled on, and this week he's back at home with his parents and sisters while doctors source a different chemo drug to enable him to continue his treatment.

"To be told to say goodbye last week, and to be sitting at home this week with my little boy smiling at me - it's just a miracle," mum Renee, 28, said.

"Considering everything he's been through in the past few months, he's remained such a beautiful, happy, little spunky kid. He's a little fighter and is an inspiration to everyone."

''To be sitting at home this week with my little boy smiling at me – it’s just a miracle.’’

''To be sitting at home this week with my little boy smiling at me – it’s just a miracle.’’

Joshua, who was diagnosed in December with a Wilms' tumour in his left kidney, had surgery at Sydney Children's Hospital to remove the kidney and part of his diaphragm where the cancer had spread.

The fight continues for Joshua with more chemotherapy, which is likely to continue until at least September. However the odds are stacked in his favour, with doctors giving him an 80 per cent chance of beating the cancer.

Meanwhile his family has supporters throughout Australia in their corner. Members of an online mothers' group have set up a Facebook page, Joshy's Journey Australia, and are running an online auction next weekend and other fund-raisers.

Renee with Joshy during treatment.

Renee with Joshy during treatment.

Melbourne mother Cara Stuart said the mums from around Australia had never met Renee or Joshua, but knew them well from regular online chats and wanted to do their bit to help.

"We've all gone through our pregnancies together, we've shared our birthing stories and photos of our babies as they've grown," Ms Stuart said.

"Then just after we'd shared photos of our kids' first birthdays we found out that Joshua had been diagnosed with cancer. It was shocking. We hope to raise $20,000 through the online auction and a donation website (gofundme.com/6vrdpc) so they can buy a reliable car and to help with other expenses."

 Jason Cassar and Renee Miller with their son Joshua.

Jason Cassar and Renee Miller with their son Joshua.

Ms Miller said she had been overwhelmed by the generosity of women from across the country.

"It has been a struggle financially, we have to pay for accommodation, petrol and parking in Sydney, and we worry that our car will conk out every time we drive there," she said.

"We're just astonished by the support we have received - these acts of kindness give you so much faith in humanity."

Visit facebook.com/joshysjourneyaustralia for details or to take part in the online auction.

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