Stawell's Rylan Smith in high spirits despite further health setback

After 11 months in hospital Stawell’s young fighter against leukemia Rylan Smith, and his family, thought they could finally return home on Wednesday.  

But they experienced another setback when Rylan was hit with a “mystery illness” on Sunday night.

Rylan went into emergency at the Royal Children’s Hospital after developing a cough and high temperatures. 

He was admitted from emergency a day after, but later developed a skin rash.

Rylan’s father Matt Smith said doctors could not confirm what was causing the symptoms, but suspected a urinary tract infection.

“Doctors gave him antibiotics which is the normal procedure in cases like this, so he is on those at the moment,” he said. 

“His neutrophils have come down though, so that means he is clearly fighting an infection of some sort.”

Rylan cannot complete his last round of chemotherapy until his neutrophils are back up. 

“He could be back home in a week if everything goes well,” Mr Smith said. 

“But right now we are just taking it one day at a time.”

The 10-year-old was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in September, a cancer which instigates an overproduction of immature white blood cells.

Despite the dramatic ordeal, Mr Smith said Rylan continues to keep positive and be in good spirits. 

“Rylan feels good in himself,” he said. 

“He is hating not knowing when he will be able to come back home, but he is maintaining high spirits and is determined to keep fighting.”

Rylan had his first day of schooling in June since his diagnosis last year.

His teacher at Stawell Primary School, Abby Cummins, said it was “fantastic” to have Rylan back in the classroom.  

“The kids were looking forward to it for days,” she said.

“We have skyped him and sent him letters while Rylan has been in hospital.

“He has had such a positive mindset throughout all of this and it has been amazing to see how he has dealt with it for a kid as young as himself.”

It was a normal school day for Rylan, learning about Chinese, maths and natural disasters.

“Rylan is a role model for all of our students and the school community is very proud of him,” Ms Cummins said. 

Mr Smith said a final date had been set for the end of Rylan’s treatment. 

“If there are no issues it will be January 17, 2020,” he said. 

“It is always better to know than not.

“We know there is a long way to go, but at least now we have a goal to work towards.” 


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