Little Maxwell keeping spirits up

Story by Alanah Frost, Herald Sun
Images by Alex Coppel, Herald Sun

Not even a day in oncology can stop Maxwell White’s cheeky personality from peeping out.

The youngster, of Bundoora, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in November last year after his mum, Vikki White, took him to see a GP for swollen glands.

“It was all very, very quick,” Ms White said.

“We were in hospital for about five weeks (following the diagnosis).

“(But) we were out just before his second birthday and Christmas, which was lovely.”

Maxwell, who started treatment almost instantly, is now on his third round of chemotherapy — which he receives at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH).

“It will last about two years and we’re four months in,” Ms White said.

“One of the chemotherapy treatments causes a lot of nerve pain, and pain in your legs. But he has been walking the whole time.

“He loves watching (TV show) Bluey. He copes very well with everything now.”

Despite being attached to an IV drip, the 27-month-old still gleefully runs down a hallway at the RCH’s day oncology unit, with his mum in tow.

He stops short of Herald Sun photographer Alex Coppel, who tentatively plays a game with him in order to draw out a smile.

“Peek-a-boo!” shouts Coppel, to the little boy’s delight. Maxwell will be a regular oncology patient for the next two years as his little body fights to get better.

Ms White, who also has her hands full with a six-year-old and a six-month-old, said focusing on the “practical” side of Maxwell’s treatment helps.

“We have our moments,” she said.

“I stay very much focused on his medicines and his appointments at the hospital.

“And family and the hospital (staff) make it easier.

“I say to him we’re going to go play with the nurses (for appointments) — and he’s happy. He likes the nurses.”

But it’s that cheeky nature that ultimately gets Maxwell, and his family, through.

“He has a very cheeky little laugh and he knows exactly what he’s doing,” Ms White said.

“He’s so cheeky — the middle child — very cheeky.

“But I wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s a happy boy.”

This year’s Good Friday Appeal will raise money for the RCH to help care for kids like Maxwell.

Donate to the Good Friday Appeal