After riding the bumps of a long and arduous treatment against leukemia, Stawell’s Rylan Smith has achieved a significant milestone.
Rylan underwent his final round of chemotherapy infusion at the Royal Children’s Hospital on Tuesday. He will finish the chemotherapy tablets on Friday, January 18, marking the end of his treatment.
“After he finishes those tablets he will be classed as being in remission,” Rylan’s father Matt said.
The exciting news comes 12 months earlier than Rylan and his family had originally expected, with early 2020 set as the initial end date of his treatment.
“With the new treatment protocol they have found there is no real benefit to the extra 12 months of treatment so he has been able to finish earlier,” Mr Smith said.
“It is a bit of a surreal feeling, everything has been so strict as to when Rylan has had to do his tablets, and chemo, everything is timed.
“There is no wind down to it, everything has just stopped which is a weird but absolutely amazing feeling.”
The timing of the conclusion of Rylan’s treatment could not have come at a better time, with the 12-year-old to commence high school life at Stawell Secondary College later in the month.
Rylan has been battling leukemia since being diagnosed in late September 2016, nearly two and a half years ago.
Related: Community throws support behind Rylan
Mr Smith said while the last few years have been difficult, he and his family are “lucky”.
"We are very lucky – it has been tough but we know families that don’t have kids now. We still have Rylan at the end of the day,” he said.
“It is absolutely exciting, there aren’t any words that can explain it really.”
For the year ahead, Mr Smith said his family hopes to return to “a bit of normality” and take a family trip later in the year.
He said the support from family, friends and the community of Stawell has been crucial to get through the last few years.
“There are so so many people that want to know what’s going on and it is nice to see,” Mr Smith said.
“The support from everyone in Stawell as well as the amazing work from the people at the Royal Children’s has been huge for all of us.”
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