Levi, a 17-year-old from Perth has been named one of the eight finalists for the Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship.
The Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship was established 10 years ago, to inspire young people whose physical or mental health has been affected by cancer and to achieve their goals and ambitions. This scholarship, funded by Coles, helps young people build their future and can be put towards education or life goals.
“It feels great. I was quite excited. I love being hands-on in metalwork and woodwork and stuff and I am doing a Diesel Mechanic apprenticeship, which is really good, so we’ll see where that takes me. I think that’s what I’m going to use the Dare to Dream scholarship money towards, for my apprenticeship.”
Levi was an 11-year-old who loved his sports, playing footy, water polo and was great at athletics. Excelling academically, he was busy with his friends, making the big transition from primary school to high school, just enjoying life. In March 2018 a few glands on his body started popping up. After a few rounds of testing, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a T-cell leukaemia.
“The doctors told my mum, and she was devastated.”
“The first year, we were in the hospital about three times a week. We could go home but the other times we were inside the hospital, getting chemotherapy. I felt pretty healthy, but it was still killing my muscles and killing my hair.”
Through Levi’s treatments, he found the love and support from his family kept him strong.
“My sister and I have become quite close. She’s like my best friend. We always go for late night drives or whatever, just hang out.
We’re Italian and Croatian, so we’ve got a big family, and they would always check up on me and visit and it was great. My family went hiking a lot, believe it or not. So even during the treatment we’d go hiking with our close family friends and my mum and dad. They love it.”
Levi’s mum, Vee discovered Redkite though meeting people at the hospital and accessed financial services and was given the Red Bag.
“Without Redkite it would be quite difficult to be able to afford the petrol and food. It lifts a bit of extra weight off your back when you’re in treatment. The Coles vouchers honestly helped a lot, because mum would have to juggle between taking me to hospital and then buying all the meals for the week and preparing them all. It made a big difference.”
Redkite was also able to provide Levi and his sister, Maya counselling.
“I did counselling, and my sister did as well because it was quite stressful for her watching me go through this. She was going through just as much stress as we all were.”
Levi is in remission and is enjoying life. After doing up a broken motorbike his mum bought him, he has been buying and fixing up motorbikes and other small, motorised machinery.
“I definitely like working on little projects and that what has kept me going the whole time, just being occupied. I find it quite interesting being hands-on because it makes time fly very quickly. I don’t have any treatment at the moment, but I still have to go in for three monthly checkups.”
Since 2013, Redkite and Coles have awarded 336 Dare to Dream Scholarships worth over $700,000 to support young Australians whose aspirations and goals have been impacted by their cancer diagnosis.