Walking into the doctor’s office, Nicole and Matthew Verrocchi could never have imagined that their two-year-old son Rafael was about to be diagnosed with cancer.
But on December 11, 2020 they were faced with the devastating news that Rafael, known as Raffi, had B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.
Raffi quickly began his first round of treatment at The Royal Children’s Hospital, where he spent about four out of the six weeks of treatment in hospital.
The family celebrated Christmas and New Years with the nurses and doctors on the Kookaburra Cancer Care Ward.
Soon after Raffi’s first, and most intensive, round of treatment ended, the family received the positive news that it was successful and he was cancer-free.
The now three-year-old still has a long road ahead, with his treatment scheduled to continue until February 2023, but his parents know just how lucky they are to have had access to the RCH for their son’s care.
“Nicky and I have always recognised the exceptional work undertaken by this institution, however, unless your child directly relies on the care and support provided by The Royal Children’s Hospital you simply don’t understand the gravity of their work and the impact they instantly make on your lives,” Mr Verrocchi said.
To give back to the Hospital and help make a difference for other sick kids and their families, the Verrocchi family started an online fundraiser for the Good Friday Appeal in Raffi’s name.
Their incredible fundraiser has raised more than $122,000 since it was started in late January.
Mr Verrocchi said their family, friends and colleagues had rallied around Raffi – a fun, loving and caring boy whom everyone knew and loved.
Mrs Verrocchi said they wanted to share Raffi’s story to help other families.
“We want to share Raffi’s story so he can be a beacon of hope and positivity for many going through the same or tougher situations,” she said.
Do an online fundraiser
A simple way to fundraise for the kids is to register an online fundraiser. Your target can be as little or as big as you want. Every donation makes a massive difference.
Meet LunaMeet the Patients
Luna Phillips, four, has lymphoblastic leukaemia, but it doesn't stop her helping other kids.
Meet CharlotteMeet the Patients
When a tumour she dubbed "Mr Potato Head" invaded Charlotte's entire abdomen, the four-year-old endured chemotherapy and 28 hours of surgery.