A GoFundMe page has been set up for Chris Ralph and his son Preston who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Picture: Supplied
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Chris Ralph and his son Preston who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Picture: Supplied

Dad leaves work to support son in shock cancer battle

A Coast dad is determined to stay strong for his 13-year-old son who said he didn't think he could endure chemotherapy after a shock cancer diagnosis.

Chris Ralph thought his son Preston was suffering from appendicitis when he rushed him to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital with excruciating stomach pains on January 31.

After doctors found lesions on Preston's liver, he was transferred to Queensland Children's Hospital's Intensive Care Unit before being officially diagnosed with B-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma on February 2.

Mr Ralph said he was shocked to hear the Year 8 Coolum State High School student had cancer in his kidneys, spleen and stomach.

"Everyone is scared to hear leukaemia or cancer and it's a horrible time and absolutely horrible hearing it," he said.

"I could just feel a lot different vibe with the doctor and that's when you do break down, for any parent you don't want to hear anything about cancer and that's when it suddenly hit for me.

"Behind the closed doors that's definitely when you get upset and you have moments, but in front of your kids you try to be as strong as you can and try be as positive as you can."

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Three weeks after being diagnosed, Preston, who has suffered through painful side effects including the development of ulcers in his mouth and throughout his digestive system, has finished his first round of chemotherapy and was due to start his second on Saturday.

At one point during his first round of chemotherapy Preston told his dad he didn't think he could bear more treatment.

"He has been in his (hospital) bedroom since the 31st of January, so it's extremely tough for him and he does have times where he goes 'I'm not doing this anymore' because he is obviously in a lot of pain and frustrated," Mr Ralph said.

"It breaks your heart … I just go 'you're not going to give up', that's why I'm here and push him through.

"As any parent would do, you just have to keep pushing and be there, when they are upset and crying you have to be there."

Mr Ralph immediately stepped away from his full-time job as a security guard as well as his two causal roles to support Preston through his treatment and recovery.

"It's hard stepping back from work and my boy says to me 'I wish I could go back to school' and there are so many things I've realised you take for granted," he said.

"The little things like work people whinge about, but I'd give anything to go back, as long as Preston was fine to (live) a normal life.

"I've realised you have to appreciate everything because when we started our year this was the last thing I would've thought of happening, as a parent you don't think it's going to happen … but it happens every day."

A GoFundMe page set up by a family member to help ease financial pressure on Mr Ralph has raised $16,063 since February 10.

"I've always worked 100 per cent and I wasn't really wanting to do it to be honest, but I'm really so extremely thankful to anyone that has supported us," he said.

"Many have been friends from where I grew up and family and it shows that there are a lot of really nice people around and very supportive."

He said the funds would help him pay for bills as he prepares to be off work for another five months.

The duration of Preston's treatment will depend on how successful each chemotherapy round is.

To donate click here.



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