Father and daughter face cancer battles together

A cancer ward at Christchurch Hospital shouldn't be a place for a seven-year-old.

However, that's the situation right now for Kaylee Rangitoheriri.

"It's the hardest thing, when she's screaming, and you're trying to comfort her. Like it's really hard," mother Lariah Rangitoheriri shared.

Last week, Kaylee was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma cancer, with tests ongoing.

In November, a small blueberry-sized lump was found on her thigh. They continued, onto her chest and left arm.

And if that wasn't tough enough - Kaylee's father Jordon is experiencing stage one cancer himself.

He noticed a lump on his neck last April when shaving.

"I feel like I've already been to hell and back, with losing my son."

In August 2015 his son, 'Baby Moko', was murdered by a couple who were supposed to be looking after him.

At the time, Rangitoheriri was on home detention. The thought of losing another baby is too hard. 

In the past five months, Jordon has also lost two of his younger siblings.

"As a man, you get to the point of how much can you really take? How much can you really handle?"

Father and daughter face cancer battles together
Photo credit: Supplied

Since leaving behind a past of gangs and prisons, She Is Not Your Rehab founder Mataio Brown has been following Jordon's journey.

"To know that he was struggling with cancer. And to find out his daughter has been diagnosed with cancer was just devastating," Brown said.

"It's a miracle, the man he is today, from the man I first met."

Rangitoheriri is sending a message, urging whānau to keep on top of their health.

"If this was the old me, I wouldn't have cared about the lump and just left it and it would've got worse. Especially our tāne, our tough men out there, get checked."

She Is Not Your Rehab has set up a Givealittle page to support the whānau through their next journey - with more than $13,000 currently raised.

Brown said the family would never have asked for help, themselves.

"We need to help keep their spirits up. Jordon is a model. If he can change the narrative of his life anyone can. He has a gift of helping our communities out."

"We realised this is bigger than what we can handle, and we need to start taking back some of that love we've given to others for so many years," Lariah said.

Cancer - another blow, for a father trying to do best by his children.

"We thought we had finally done everything right, finally created a safe place for our kids."

The family remains full of hope for Kaylee.

"She's going to be an Olympic swimmer, she's amazing," her mother said.

And dad wants to be there to see her success, every step of the way.