At the height of his illness Kole Satherley was unable to swim for several months but now the 7-year-old Palmerston North boy completes 25-metre lengths with ease.
The face of Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand's television campaign, Kole has made a good recovery from the rare blood disease aplastic anaemia.
Kole was 5 years old when he was diagnosed. In the year that followed he had several trips between his home in Palmerston North and Starship children's hospital in Auckland for medical tests and treatment, including several lumbar punctures and blood transfusions.
"Unlike many blood cancer patients receiving medication, Kole didn't lose his hair during treatment," his mum Cara Satherley said. "However when Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand approached us to see if we'd like to be involved with the campaign he jumped at the chance to be on the tele'."
"It was Kole's decision to participate in the filming of the advertisement. The main reason we did it was to give something back and to raise awareness about blood cancer. Also, when Kole gets older he can look back and understand what he went through."
In the ad, which is screening ahead of the Shave for a Cure appeal week starting March 4, Kole watches children play through a window as an actor playing his father has his head shaved. As the man's hair disappears, Kole's regrows.
Kole is in remission but still has monthly blood tests and visits Starship once every six months.
Mrs Satherley said he liked seeing himself on television and being recognised from it.
"Kole has just started playing interclub tennis and his tennis manager and new teacher both asked if he was the boy on the Shave for a Cure advertisement. That put a big smile on his dial."
In addition to tennis and swimming, the Newbury School student also plays football. Mrs Satherley said he loved anything to do with the outdoors.
Mrs Satherley said that prior to Kole's illness she was not aware of Leukaemia and Blood Cancer NZ's work.
"It is a roller-coaster emotionally and physically, not knowing what the next day has in store, and LBC was fantastic."
- © Fairfax NZ News