Rylan’s school return

YOUNG FIGHTER: Stawell's Rylan Smith has shown a lot of resolve to keep battling leukemia. Picture: PETER PICKERING

YOUNG FIGHTER: Stawell's Rylan Smith has shown a lot of resolve to keep battling leukemia. Picture: PETER PICKERING

STAWELL’S young fighter against leukemia, Rylan Smith, had his first day of schooling on Wednesday since his diagnosis in September.

The spring in his step was a joy to see for his family and classmates. 

“He was ready to go at 7am,” Rylan’s father Matt Smith said. 

“He had his lunchbox packed the night before and has already asked to go again for another day.”

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

Mr Smith said Rylan was responding well to his current stage of treatment, the “intra-maintenance” phase.

“He will have two more weeks of treatment this month and then one week of treatment in July, which will be the maintenance phase,” he said.  

“So hopefully we will bring Rylan home at the end of July or the start of August.”

But for now the Stawell community has celebrated his temporary return and pledged their support on his journey to recovery.  

“It’s nice to have everyone together,” Mr Smith said. 

“This is his third trip to Stawell since his diagnosis, but the last two have been flying visits and he hadn’t been feeling well on them.

“This time he is feeling much better and is able to do stuff and catch up with his mates.”

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

“The kids have been 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.

“He already asked to come back,” she said. “Rylan is a role model for all of our students and the school community is very proud of him.”

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