Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Brave boy's big battle

Numurkah boy Samuel Altoft may only be 16 months old, but he's already engaged in a life and death struggle against a rare and aggressive form of cancer.

JENNA BISHOP December 13, 2012 4:40am

Sixteen-month-old Samuel Altoft with mother Tania Altoft. Samuel is undergoing cancer treatment.

Numurkah’s Samuel Altoft may only be 16 months old, but he’s already had to face more devastating news than most people will in their entire lives.

Just a couple of weeks after his first birthday on August 22, Samuel was diagnosed with anaplastic ependymoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer which causes tumours in the brain or on the spinal cord.

A week later, Samuel had an operation to remove a large tumour from the back of his brain.

The community is being urged to support Samuel’s fight at a Dining with the Stars fundraising dinner on February 2.

The night will feature a two-course meal with stars Brendan Fevola, Anthony Stevens, Chris Connolly, Dean Pullar, Debbie Lee, Jessica Rothwell, Neville Bruns and Sarah Wall.

Guests also have the opportunity to buy 10 premium tickets, which includes a limousine ride from Numurkah to a secret location for pre-dinner drinks, and then a limo ride with the stars to the event.

Sporting memorabilia, including a cricket bat signed by the entire Australian team, will be auctioned off, along with holidays to Queensland and Torquay, hampers and services.

Samuel’s aunt Tracey Altoft said surgeons were able to remove most of the tumour during the operation, and he has just finished his second round of chemotherapy.

‘‘At his age, chemo isn’t going to cure him, it’s only going to keep it at bay until he’s old enough for radiotherapy,’’ she said.

Samuel will be able to have radiotherapy at age three, but until then his treatment will be determined by three-monthly MRIs.

Samuel’s mother Tania Altoft said he had regained a lot of his strength, energy and his love for musical toys and trucks since returning home to Numurkah on Sunday.

‘‘He’s a good little dancer — well, he thinks he is anyway,’’ she said.

Funds raised from the dinner will go towards Samuel’s treatment costs, travel and rehabilitation, and Miss Altoft said it meant a lot to have such support for Samuel.

‘‘It makes a really big difference to just know we’ve got that support,’’ she said.

‘‘His journey is my journey ... we’re in this together.’’

Dining with the Stars will be held at Waaia Recreation Reserve on February 2 at 6.30pm. Tickets for the dinner are $40 per person with groups of 10 preferable, while premium tickets will be $200. Tickets can be purchased through McPherson’s Mensland in Numurkah or by phoning Andrea on 58623209. Anyone wishing to make a donation can also do so through internet banking; account name: The Samuel Altoft Fundraiser, BSB: 803-078, account number: 100073021.

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