A boy with an extremely rare form of leukaemia has had his dream come true with the help of some local garbage collectors.
Four-year-old Ryder Boyce is one of only 3 per cent of leukaemia patients diagnosed with mixed phenotype acute leukaemia, which is two forms of the disease combined — acute myeloid leukaemia and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
He is undergoing extensive chemotherapy and has endured 19 operations since his condition was diagnosed 15 months ago.
His mother Tanya Boyce said her son had an unusual way of passing the time during his many hospital visits.
“One thing he absolutely loves is watching the garbage truck and the garbage truck man every day, and he plays with his garbage truck at the hospital,” she said.
“We can spend hours sitting there and just dumping the rubbish back into his toy truck.”
An emotional day
A friend of the family who works at Solo Resource Recovery at Chinderah, on the New South Wales far north coast, this week organised for a garbage truck to collect Ryder.
His mother said it was a dream come true.
“I’ve always asked him, if there’s one thing you wanted to do what would it be, and he says I want to be the garbage truck driver and empty the bins,” Ms Boyce said.
“I don’t think I stopped crying the whole day.
“They had a little embroidered vest that he could wear, and he just looked so gorgeous in it.
“He drove away and then we met them down at the depot and they gave us a big tour and gave him a little truck to keep. It was just beautiful.
“He was just so overjoyed. Because he’s such an introverted little human he couldn’t even voice what was happening, he was just so excited.”
Rewarding experience for everyone
But truck driver Matt Gilbert had a different experience when Ryder jumped on board.
“He wouldn’t shut up basically,” Mr Gilbert said.
“He just saw all the screens and all the buttons and he could see his mum in one of the cameras and that’s basically all he talked about — Mum was getting too slow and he wasn’t happy about it.
“Everyone going around, he was just waving and full of chatter.
“To see that smile as we came around the corner, and when he hit the air horn as we drove off, he was just ecstatic.
“It was so rewarding to see a kid who has been through so much, and all he had to do was get in a truck and you couldn’t wipe the smile off his face.”
Ms Boyce said the experience had restored her faith in human nature.
“The positivity and love from strangers. If everybody acted like that helping people when they’re going through a tough time, it just puts a smile on our face and makes a silver lining of what we’re going through,” she said.