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Ride 4 Luka

$52,563 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 411 people in 3 months
Created February 18, 2019
Ride 4 Luka
on behalf of Luka Monroe
Please Help! 

Luka Monroe, was a healthy and very active 5 year old living in Byron Bay with his wonderful family; Mother Usa, Father Ben and Sisters Isabella and Larita.  Luka was a budding motorcycle racer and loved his surfing and fishing.

Just last week Luka developed sharp stabbing pains in his tummy.  Within 48 hrs he was in the back of an ambulance being transferred to the Queensland Children's Hospital, where he was preliminary diagnosed with a large tumour in his left kidney, around the size of a naval orange!

After a bunch of scans and other tests, the cancerous tumour has been classed as a stage 3, having bled into Luka's body and the root cause of his stabbing pains.  His treatment is a priority as now there is a chance the cancer could spread with the bleed.

Luka has already undergone surgery to insert a port device in his chest to facilitate his chemo and other therapies.  On top of this, he will undergo radiation therapy in the hope the cancer tumour can be reduced and then removed along with his left kidney.  All up Luka will undergo 9 cycles, each cycle being 3 weeks of chemo treatment and include 5 radiation treatments.  In addition to chemo, Luka will require major surgery to remove the cancerous tumour and his left kidney between cycles 4 & 5.  The total treatment time will be around 28weeks or 200 days.

During this time Luka and his mother must stay close to the Queensland Children's Hospital incase of complications like infections.  If his health allows, he will be allowed a few days at home before he begins his next cycle of treatment.

Luka will require regular health screening over a 4 year period to ensure the treatment was successful.  The prognosis is good and the team of Doctors have confidence in Lukas strength to overcome his illness. 

We have decided to put this fundraiser together to show our support for Luka and his family.  They have a long road ahead for what should’ve been the happiest time of their lives with Luka having just started Primary School.

Any money raised will go directly towards helping them fund the costs of their upcoming battle through this difficult time;  specifically professional nutritional support for Luka, travel costs incurred to and from the hospital not covered by Medicare for their family and carers (Byron Bay to Brisbane), support care for Luka's sister Larita, loss of income for Usa who will care full-time for Luka and other direct costs related to Luka's ongoing treatments not covered under Medicare.  Any funds remaining will be donated to organisations such as Childhood Cancer Support, RedKite, The Starlight Foundation and other organisations who will be instrumental in the support of Luka and his family during these tough times.

Luka hopes to one day return to the active life he loves and give hope to other kids in their fight with cancer. 

If you would like to jump on board and show your support, any donation, however small, would be much appreciated and mean so much. Please join the #ride4luka campaign.

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Hello people,

I wanted to give you all another update on Luka.

It's now been 3 months since Luka was diagnosed with a large Wilms tumour in his left kidney. Since then he has completed 4 cycles or 12 weeks of chemo therapy. Some weeks ago he underwent an ultrasound scan of his tumour. It was determined the tumour had reduced significantly from its original size recored at the time of diagnosis. From 81x76x73mm in size down to just 55x50x50mm. If you use 3D calculations this means its now 1/3 it's original size. Probably even smaller today. Doctor Rick Walker has been extremely happy with Luka's progress. Not just the reduction in his tumour size but how he has recovered from each of the strong double doses of chemo.

Each Wednesday, Luka and his mother attend the Queensland Children's Hospital Oncology outpatients room. The day goes something like this. Firstly, even before Luka leaves home his mother Usa prepares and applies a special numbing cream on Luka's port. The port was surgically inserted during the first week, aids nurses to both take blood for testing and administer his chemo therapy. When Luka arrives and signs in he is weighed and measured for his height. These markers are what they use to calculate very carefully the exact volume of chemotherapy drugs Luka is to be administered. He then has a line inserted into his port and bloods are taken to be immediately sent off for rapid testing. Specifically they are looking at how his immune system is coping with chemo. Then some hours later Luka is given his Chemo.

Luka has now had a total of 16 blood tests, each time recording his Haemoglobin, White Cell Count, Platelets and Neutrophils. These help the doctors monitor his immune system and ensure he's strong enough to receive each new cycle that normally starts with a strong double dose. Doctor Rick Walker always ensures Luka is above the lowest base level required before he administers Lukas chemo. On a few occasion Luka has been extremely low to the point he almost had his chemo schedule halted and nearly received a blood transfusion. However Doctor Rick has seen a real battler in Luka. His recovery from these heavy doses has been consistently strong, indicating Luka has good quality bone marrow and has a good healthy lifestyle.

Keeping Luka in condition is a full-time 24/7 job for his mother. Usa received some assistance from a couple of nutritionist early in Lukas treatment but mostly has spent hours upon hours conducting her own online research and testing various meals with Luka . The side effect of chemo are many but most important is keeping his diet and system going so he maintains his health. This has not been a simple task. For some days after each double dose Luka is generally very sick. I won't go into details but it's the worst experience as a parent you could imagine and even more so for Luka. Keeping his food intake during this time is near impossible. We've been fighting weight loss and appetite for weeks but so far he's lost and then gained weight. Also important is keeping his system moving. I'm sure it sounds very strange but we regularly celebrate when Luka is successful on the toilet. There have been days when he's gone without movement which has been difficult to overcome. Regardless he has bounced back each time and kept his condition better than can be expected.

Next week Luka has a pre operation CT scan. This will give his surgeons more precise details on Luka's kidney tumour and help plan the operation. Fingers crossed he will have his left kidney and tumour completely removed in one operation around 21st May. We are very much looking forward to knowing this tumour will no longer be within Luka. Of course there are a bunch of side effects and potential outcomes we need to be aware of but for now we are just living day to day, keeping Luka as healthy and as comfortable as possible. The strain on him has been significant, especially around the double doses but each time he recovers to moves forward with a smile. The stress on our family has been immense at times. Kleenex has done well out of us of late but we regroup each time and like Luka, ready ourselves for the next milestone and move forward. Almost halfway now.

Before I end this update, I want to thank everyone for their ongoing support of our family. People have continued to both donate but also offer vital support in other ways. Every message has been instrumental in helping our family cope with all the pressure associated with this journey. I'd also like to make special mention of Willowbank MX Park, Ashlea Griffin and her family, Deus Byron and Paul Mcneil, Mal and Di Dalton, Byron Bay Public School, Australian OffRoad Championship organisers, Ilke & Steve Sharratt, Michael & Eli Berti, my mum Jenny & stepfather Stuart plus the many Byron Bay, Lennox and Ballina area businesses who have assisted in fundraising and the support our Ride4Luka campaign. Thank you to everyone who has helped us no matter how big or small, together you have made our journey with Luka so far a successful one.

The next month is a big one for Luka. We will be by his side though it all. We dream of taking him home a healthy boy in spring and can't wait to have our family together again. If you wish to receive more updates or join Luka's progress you can do this via Facebook (Luka Monroe) and Instagram (@luka.monroe). I'll update this page once again in about a month of so time once we have completed some more treatments.

Thank you and bless you all.

Ben Monroe
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Shortened Update - Full update available via my facebook page.

Hello everyone,

My name is Ben Monroe, the proud father of Luka Monroe. I wanted to update everyone here on how Luka is progressing and begin to try and thank everyone for your amazing support.

Firstly, to everyone who has supported Luka's Ride4Luka campaign, I would like to extend to you all our warmest and sincerest thanks! Our family have been left speechless at the many messages and acts of kindness since Luka was diagnosed just over a month ago. Many of you we know, many of you we don't but I can assure you if we ever meet on the street, or at the beach or even at a motorcycle track I will give you the biggest and best hug you ever had. To put it simply, not only have you helped financially our cause but you have provided us with so much more. Your generosity and love filled all our hearts with much needed energy and light, giving us the strength to support both Luka and each other in what is undoubtedly the most challenging situation our family is ever likely to face. So once again from the Monroe family we thank you from all our hearts.

Now to Luka. The strongest, toughest and most positive human I know. From the very beginning he has shown us the way forward, toughing out the hardest days and bouncing back for more with a smile every time. We have been at the precipice of fear, with nerves so fragile yet he has stepped forward each time, most of these willingly and sometimes knowing he had no choice but always extremely determined. His doctors and carers, amongst the best in the world, have been encouraged by his fitness, health and mental toughness. He is one of the youngest patients to have undergone an MRI of the brain, 45 mins in duration, without medication of any kind. He woke from a 2-hour operation, groggy but in control of all his capacities including his appetite which helped him consumed a meal good enough to satisfy a large human. Of course, I am biases as any proud father would but I’ve also witness humans in tough and demanding times and in comparison, he’s been a standout from day one.

As I write this tonight Luka has more or less recovered from a significant double dose of chemo last Wednesday, his 4th such session of which he has many more to go. The various chemo drugs are the most toxic prescribed substances humans can endure. So toxic we as his parents are not allowed to come into contact with any fluids emanating from his body without the use of protection. Not even a kiss or to wipe a tear – he is as we have learnt cytotoxic. The tumour, 8cm across and roughly round like an orange, was discovered Tuesday 12th February has according to his doctor begun to reduce in size. It’s been necessary to begin chemo before any surgery simply because the tumour and left kidney had ruptured and bled into his body making it inoperable until the bleed healed and the tumour reduced. Luka is scheduled to undergo surgery in May to remove both tumour and kidney, hopefully in one operation. After recovering from this Luka will undergo 5 days of radiation and then another 120 days of chemo, all the while living close to the Queensland Children Hospital in Brisbane. Why can’t Luka live at home, well because his immune system is very compromised and the risk of complications such as infection or the need for blood transfusions are very high. So Luka and his mother live just 5mins from QCH emergency department and oncology ward near South Brisbane.

QCH is the go-to hospital for QLD and northern NSW children’s oncology. The team there were amazing from day one. The support and care they have offered both Luka and our family has been amazing and of the highest standard to be found anywhere in the world. Many of the support comes from volunteers who staff operations like the Starlight Foundation, who regularly help brighten the day of both patients and their families. These people have empathy like no others. They exist to provide service to others for nothing other than the privilege. While my wife and I have been inspired by them, Luka has been charmed and his spirit buoyed by them when he needed it most. I know it sound weird but it’s been wonderful to experience. Luka’s other heroes include his chief physician Dr Rick Walker, a family man, a motorcyclist like Luka and a wonderful human. He has left no stone unturned and delivered very difficult conversations in a pragmatic and caring fashion. He is supported by a number of brilliant younger doctors who regularly monitor Luka’s condition and treatments. We know them all by name and are blessed by their presence. In addition to the doctors, there is an entire team behind Luka and the other oncology patients Luka regularly meets. Nurses (superheroes), skilful surgeons, talented techs from radiology, therapists, social workers (made sure mum and dad had a shoulder to cry upon), welfare officers (helped us find our feet in Brisbane or even a toothbrush), oncology liaison officers (amazing administration manager) and many more special humans. I can tell you they are all over worked and most likely underpaid but never wavered from the professional care of our child. Thank you to each and every one of you. You are all legends!

So, till next time, thank you for your support. We will endeavour to update you in the future. We will continue to provide Luka with the opportunity experience your love and support. He’s been very fond of the messages from everyone so keep them coming. Follow his journey if you wish via @luka.monroe

Thank you and take care!

The Monroe’s
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$52,563 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 411 people in 3 months
Created February 18, 2019
Ride 4 Luka
on behalf of Luka Monroe
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