Taupō teen says cancer diagnosis and treatment came too late
Nineteen-year-old Gabriel Wharehinga had the world at his feet.
The head boy of Tauponui-a-Tia College, Wharehinga was looking forward to preforming arts school - but in 2015 he was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma.
The teen had been suffering with chronic hip pain for months and had been diagnosed with ostheomyelitis, an infection of the bone. He was treated with antibiotics but there was no improvement in his condition. In fact, the teen was suffering from a rare form of cancer.
"I was just angry that it took so long because it's all over the place, so it's stage four cancer. If he had diagnosed me in the beginning or even a bit faster, it would've just been in the one place. That's difficult to hear."
After pushing for an open biopsy, Gabriel was finally diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma and went into an intensive course of chemotherapy treatment in 2015.
He came through not only the cancer, but also passed year 13.
Sadly, a year later in late December 2016 the aches returned - but despite his medical history, it took weeks for Gabriel to get confirmation his cancer had returned.
Gabriel's mother Eunice Wharehinga says it was hard to watch her son suffer while he waited for his appointment.
"He didn't have a wheelchair, so we were carrying him but we were so used to that. It just got worse and we were panicking."
Gabriel is now back in chemotherapy and while the prognosis isn't good, he is keeping positive. He is sharing his story to encourage other cancer sufferers to advocate forcefully for themselves.
For now he's making the most of every day.
"When all the doctors said 'limit what you do', I'm like, 'Nah, I'm going for a swim, I'm going to jump off a cliff.' Then I come home and I'm knocked out in bed. Worries - I had a good day."