YOU can't wipe the smile from little Kobi Maynard's dial.
The six-year-old lad is happy and thriving in the wake of 10 months of intensive cancer treatment at the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane.
"I was worried about some bruising on his leg and I thought it might have been because he was getting bullied at school," Kobi's mother said of finding strange marks on her son in December last year.
"Then I thought he was lacking in iron.
"I took him to the doctors and asked them to do a blood test."
That blood test delivered the worst possible news for Lisa and her husband Jayd - their little boy had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Known as ALL, the body produces immature white blood cells that in turn prevent the bone marrow from creating normal healthy blood cells.
Once the white cells move into the bloodstream, they cause anaemia, bleeding and bruising so doctors must move fast to stem the damage.
The disease impacts about 300 Australians each year and is usually found in children under 14 years old.
While it is the most common of all childhood cancers, researchers are not entirely sure why it infects healthy youngsters like Kobi.
Shortly after he was diagnosed, Kobi, his brother Trey and his mother and father arrived at Lady Cilento.
"It was all a bit overwhelming," Lisa said.
"You automatically think that everything you had hoped and dreamed for your child would be taken away.
"I thought straight away 'How are we going to get through this'?"
Taking one day at a time, Kobi and his family prepared for the lad to undergo intensive chemotherapy treatments.
But things took a deadly turn when the little boy's heart stopped beating because of severe anaphylactic reaction to his medication.
"I was there when it happened - I watched him have no pulse and he had to be revived," Lisa said.
"He had to be in intensive care."
Doctors were forced to rethink their approach to Kobi's treatment.
The therapy had a major impact on his body and his mental health, yet Kobi always put on a brave face in front of his parents and brother.
"He was trying to hide how sick he was from us," Lisa said.
Little Trey refused to let his brother - and best mate - down, often offering to take his sibling's medication so Kobi would not have to be crook.
"We saw how resilient Kobi was and we decided to be really positive," Lisa said.
"We wanted him to know we were all behind him."
Kobi is now home where he still has daily chemo, steroids and antibiotics and makes regular trips back to Brisbane for check-ups.
He is in kindy and has joined the local nippers squad, impressing his loved ones as he goes from strength to strength.
"Kobi is on chemo for another three years then after that they look at his five-year survival rates," Lisa said.
"There are statistics that go with that but we refuse to think about that - we just think about today and only today."
Lisa said the hospital staff and the support of the Children's Hospital Foundation made her son's hospital experience easier to get through.
"Kobi would spend days stuck in his hospital bed so when the CHF volunteers came to visit they would make his day a lot better," Lisa said.
"This gave me time to sit back and take a breather - it was amazing."
Kobi is one of 994 Northern NSW residents treated at Lady Cilento last financial year.
The youngster is taking on a big challenge, helping to promote the annual Channel Nine Telethon supporting the Children's Hospital Foundation on Saturday (November 18).
The appeal aims to raise $11 million.
As well as supporting patients at LCCH, money raised during the telethon pays for vital medical equipment, research and a range of medical services at Lady Cilento and throughout regional Queensland and Northern NSW.
"The foundation and its work are outstanding," Lisa said.
"Without the foundation, our time would have been incredibly dull.
"They brought a little bit of happiness to all of us." - NewsRegional
Donate at 9telethon.com.au or by phoning 1800 909 900.
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