Murraylands community rallies to help make a difference

BATTLER: Oscar Noye, aged two years, is battling leukaemia but he has people from around the country in his corner. Photo: Supplied.

BATTLER: Oscar Noye, aged two years, is battling leukaemia but he has people from around the country in his corner. Photo: Supplied.

A groundswell of support from loved ones and strangers from across the country has buoyed a Murray Bridge family as they face their biggest hurdle to date: leukaemia.

Oscar Noye, who turned two in March, was diagnosed with the blood cancer at the end of April, after having shown signs he had been unwell since Easter.

While it has not been an easy time since then his parents, Josh and Amelia, have been overwhelmed with the love and support shown by not only the local community, but their workplaces, friends, and even strangers from around Australia.

In May, Josh decided to shave his head to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation and challenged his family and friends to join him.

Josh said Oscar was a "Mummy's boy" so he felt a bit helpless when he wanted to show support for his son.

He believes taking part in the head shave would show Oscar that he was not alone in his battle, and he would be like his Daddy when he began losing his hair.

Being in the hospital and seeing other children and families going through the same thing, Josh found it a way to help them as well.

He's doing well at the moment, but there's a long road ahead.

Since signing up for the shave, about 50 people have registered to either shave their heads or dye their hair to fundraise for the cause.

"I posted it (on Facebook) and probably within 15 minutes I had 15 people saying they want to shave their heads," Josh said. "After 24 hours we had raised $10,000, after six days we had $15,000, then I shared it on Facebook again and we had $30,000."

Family members, friends, members of the Jervois football and netball clubs, and even one of Josh's high school teachers are all on board.

Friends, AFL players Chad Wingard and Jarrod Lienert and Australian tennis player Alex Bolt have also been using their platforms to garner as much fundraising support as possible.

Now only a few days out from the big shave on Saturday, July 4, they have raised more than $66,000 as a collective.

Josh said on average, it cost $560 for a family to stay in Adelaide, away from home, for a week while a sick person received treatment so it was "overwhelming" to think about how many people they would be able to help and support through this fundraising.

"We showed Oscar's oncologist and he was absolutely floored by the amount of funds," he said.

"I think coronavirus has made people realise what's important."

Long road ahead: Murray Bridge family Josh, Oscar and Amelia Noye are feeling blessed to have community support as Oscar tackles leukemia.

Long road ahead: Murray Bridge family Josh, Oscar and Amelia Noye are feeling blessed to have community support as Oscar tackles leukemia.

This is not the first time the Noyes and their friends have gone through heartbreak; Josh's best mate Alex Aunger suddenly passed away in 2012 from meningococcal.

But Josh said through every hurdle their little community had faced, they had tried to find silver linings and stay positive - there wasn't anything else they could do.

"After what happened with Alex, I've lived by the motto: 'It's not happening to you, it's happening for you'," he said.

"It's hard to find the good when your kid's diagnosed with cancer.

"But I've been blown away by the amount, the people who are giving, the people who are shaving.

"No way did I think it would get this big."

He said if people were not in a position to donate money but still wanted to make an impact they could donate blood, as leukaemia patients like Oscar would need many blood transfusions going into the future.

Josh said Oscar was coping as best he can and responding to treatment.

"He's doing well at the moment, but there's a long road ahead," he said. "The doctors are pleased with how it's started."

He said hospital staff had been nothing short of amazing during the family's journey so far. "They turn your world upside down and break your heart, but then they're there to catch you," he said.

To make a donation to the team or participants, visit the Leukaemia Foundation website.