Archie's plight: From sore foot to cancer diagnosis in days
LIFE as a seven-year-old is supposed to be full of fun and games.
Those early years of the schoolyard, making friends, a time with no serious strings attached.
This is a story of the exact opposite.
Archie Griffiths came home from school with a sore foot and was in hospital for life-saving treatment just days later.
Cancer had struck the Mooloolaba State School Year 1 student like a bolt from the blue. It was sudden, shocking and scary.
Nothing could prepare parents Matt and Pippa for the news.
"It has turned our world upside down," Matt said with a sad chuckle, masking the harsh reality of their little boy's life.
"One day he was fine kicking a soccer ball at school to being in the hospital bed, there were no signs.
"He just came home with a sore foot like he had hurt it but we then we couldn't even touch him. It happened very quickly, just over a few days."
Before the undiscriminating leukaemia took over his tiny body, Archie was a boy who loved soccer. He still does, only now he is limited to playing goal keeper.
So far, the disease's vice-grip has eased, 80% of the cancerous cells have gone from his body. He embarks on three years of remission meaning weekly treatment.
For the Griffiths, the next three years will test them to the core.
"It is good news and we are looking at the positives, you have to," the father of two said.
"All fingers are crossed it doesn't progress."
A Laugh For Archie
- When: Friday October 13
- Where: Mooloolaba State School Hall
- Time: 6.30pm till late, 18+ event
- Cost: $25 and available from https://www.trybooking.com/317553
But for Archie, some of the damage has been done.
"Archie says he can't run as fast as he could, and can't walk as well," Mr Griffiths said.
"He knows he has cancer, he knows it is serious. Being in hospital each week, he said the medication changed his body, he says he is chubby now.
"But on the holidays he was able to surf and stand up on his board. It is those little things that help, you try to keep life as usual as possible."
Sometimes it takes moments of crisis to bring people together.
The Mooloolaba State School community has already banded together to raise money for the Griffiths family.
A Laugh For Archie - a comedic fundraising night - will take place at the Mooloolaba State School's hall next Friday evening.
Hosted by the school's P&C and organised by Bli Bli osteopath and comedian Christian Lutz, the night will aim to distract and comfort.
Christian's own son also named Archie plays alongside him with the Mooloolaba Sun City soccer team and just wanted to help.
"It is just a way to make light of a really sad situation," Mr Lutz said.
"It has turned into a really big community event, everyone is behind it. It is quite a chaotic situation so anything we can do to help we will.
"Tickets are only $25 and I will be bringing some of my comedian mates along."
- Leukaemias are cancers of the white blood cells beginning in the bone marrow
- Four types; acute lymphocytic, chronic lymphocytic, acute myeloid and chronic myeloid
- In 2013, 2850 people in Australia were diagnosed with leukaemia. Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia is the most common
- In Australia, the five-year survival rate for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia is around 79%, for acute myeloid leukaemia it is 27%
The Griffiths couldn't express their gratitude at the immense support.
They know their little boy's fight is not over, the next three years will be chemotherapy, blood tests, lumbar punctures, months and months of treatment.
"For us it is hard to take anything," Matt conceded.
"It's really difficult to accept the generous donations from everybody. But the schools involved have been amazing. We are overwhelmed with the support.
"I just have to accept it. We will be donating some money to the Ronald McDonald House and the Leukaemia Foundation. They deserve it."