WATCH out medical world, Harrison Pennicott is ready to smash scleroderma.
The six-year-old Warranwood boy entered The Royal Children’s Hospital yesterday to begin a gruelling five months of treatment doctors hope will save his life.
Harrison is the youngest person in Australia diagnosed with the rare skin and auto-immune disease and will undergo a bone-marrow transplant and chemotherapy to effectively grow a new immune system.
He faces six days of surgery and treatment, then five weeks in isolation being fed through a tube in his nose.
If all goes well, he’ll spend the rest of spring, Christmas and the start of summer recovering at home without any visitors.
Harrison finished school for the year last week and was sad to say goodbye to his friends.
But he told Maroondah Leader he hoped to be back for the start of term one.
“They’ll put the medicine in me, put some hoses in my nose and my heart, and take my hair off and I’ll sleep there for six nights,” Harrison said.
“And then I’ll go back to home and back to school and play footy.”
Harrison’s parents Jamie and Leesa decided on the radical course of treatment after their specialist, Angela Cox, met other doctors at a conference in Amsterdam.
Ms Pennicott said the specialists recommended they “100 per cent go for it” after viewing details of Harrison’s case.
“We just want to get it done, we want to move forward, we want him to get better,” she said.
“There’s a lot of confidence from the doctors, and that’s what we’re feeding off,” Mr Pennicott said.
“This is the most positive we’ve had our medical team in the last three years.”
Harrison might also get a visit in hospital from his special mate — Essendon Football Club captain Dyson Heppell.
The duo combined for the Get Behind The Beard fundraiser in June, with Heppell shaving off his beard to raise more than $60,000 for Scleroderma Victoria.
Heppell, whose grandmother died from the disease, called Harrison on Monday night to wish him luck before heading in for surgery.
The AFL star has kept in regular contact with Harrison — inviting him into the Bombers’ rooms after games and surprising him on a visit to Melbourne’s SeaLife Aquarium.
The family are planning a huge party and possibly a trip to Fiji or Vegas once Harrison recovers.
But Harrison only has one thing on his mind — big brother Miller has been put on notice for a backyard footy showdown once he’s fighting fit.
“I’ll smash it (treatment), then I’ll smash my brother in footy, and kick a goal.
Words Kiel Egging, photo James Ross – Maroondah Leader