As Leighann Cochrane and her partner Keith Riddell face the ‘‘soul-destroying’’ trauma of their 3-year-old son Arran undergoing treatment for leukaemia, her thoughts are with other families in similar positions.
The Cromwell family was last month stranded in Scotland, where they had gone to visit family in Glasgow, after Arran was diagnosed and started treatment. He is too sick to travel and the family expect to be in Scotland for at least six months.
Ms Cochrane said the thing she would most ask of people was that they give blood and platelets and check if they could be on the bone marrow register.
‘‘Spread the word, you could save a life,’’ she said.
‘‘It is so easy to see a story and think, ‘That’s so sad, I can’t imagine what they’re going through’, but that will never be us. That’s how I used to think, it’s unimaginable; but thousands of families are going through this.’’
The family was staying in a house specifically for the leukaemia ward, to keep children on the ward isolated from other illness, and Ms Cochrane said they might look at renting in Scotland for a while, but they were ‘‘still figuring life out right now’’.
‘‘Almost all of our family is in the UK — we wouldn’t be getting through this without them. It almost feels like it happened while we were here for a reason.’’
She did have a small request of anyone who might be travelling from Central Otago to Glasgow, Edinburgh or Manchester, as they were hoping to have some items transported from their Cromwell home to make Arran feel more at home.
‘‘Familiar things for him — sentimental things, his paintings, photos, etcetera.’’
She said friends in New Zealand were their second family and had been amazing in their support, including setting up a Givealittle page.
‘‘Strangers in New Zealand are amazing and we are overwhelmed with the support,’’ Ms Cochrane said.
‘‘Our employers, Arran’s daycare — just everyone is incredible.’’
Friend and former colleague Juliet Towers, who set up the Givealittle page, said one person travelling to Britain had taken some personal items for the family but she hoped to hear from other travellers who could help.
The family had also started to sell their household goods from Cromwell on local social media sites.
‘‘They are homeless, they are jobless — it’s just starting to hit home,’’ she said.
Mrs Towers repeated the call for people to donated blood and platelets.
‘‘It is the kindness of strangers that has saved Arran to this point. There are hundreds and hundreds of children going through this at any time.’’