After spending almost half his life battling cancer, Rafael Moraes is looking forward to his 10th birthday.
But instead of presents, the Point Cook boy wants birthday cards – hundreds of them.
“He’s the type of kid who reads everything written on cards, even the maker’s printed words,” his mother, Natasha Moraes, says.
Rafael has neuroblastoma, a solid tumour cancer of the sympathetic nervous system. He was diagnosed in 2008 and, after a few years free of medical intervention, is undergoing regular chemotherapy and other treatments.
A Werribee childcare worker has organised a “card-a-thon” for the grade 4 Westbourne Grammar pupil.
His father, Domingoes Moraes, says the cards will fill his son with joy.
“This will cheer him up so much,” he said. “The idea of someone sending him a birthday card will make him feel special.”
Mrs Moraes says that, depending on his health, Rafael hopes to spend his March 25 birthday at a school camp at Anglesea.
“He loves school, he loves his friends and teachers and wants to go to camp, but so far he has only managed a few days of school this year,” she says.
“Everything depends on his health; he’s now on a more aggressive form of chemotherapy and has had to be on a morphine drip to control pain.”
Tierney Randal, who works at the Wyndham Early Years Learning Activity Centre, organised the card-a-thon through Facebook.
“Rafael is almost 10 years old and doesn’t remember life without cancer,’’ she says. ‘‘We just want to help him.” \
» Cards can be sent to PO Box 1617, Werribee, 3030