A year ago, on February 12, Deyan Cashmere celebrated his 19th birthday at home in Hillston.
He would never have known his next would be spent in hospital, awaiting experimental treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia after exhausting all other options.
When on March 11, 2018, the teenager began to experience stomach pain, he was taken to Hillston Hospital.
Diagnosed with appendicitis, he was then transferred to Griffith Hospital. But a quick scan of his vitals revealed, Deyan had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Following appendix surgery, he was placed into an induced coma for the flight to St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney.
“Those first couple of days were incredibly long,” said older sister Jennifer Brown.
“We really didn’t know if he would make it.”
From that moment, Deyan and his parents uprooted their Riverina lives to live near St Vincent Hospital in Sydney.
As hard as the treatment has been the adjustment to life away from the family farm.
“He’s a country boy, I know he hates being in the city,” said his sister.
“He’s an uncle of three nieces and one nephew. He’s such a hard worker, he’s done nothing wrong.”
Late last year, the family did receive the news that Deyan was cancer free. But the celebration was short-lived, as weeks after Christmas, it was back.
Having exhausted all other options, the family are now facing a $600,000 bill for an experimental treatment at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle.
“It’s called Car-T cells and it’s honestly so complicated we’re still learning about it,” Ms Brown said.
“There’s just a one in three chance that it’ll work. It’s a slim chance, but it’s a chance, it’s obviously worked for someone before.”
In three weeks time, Deyan will fly to America for the treatment. But since payment must be made in full ahead of operations, the family have begun seeking support through a crowdfunding page.
Within 24hours, the page was trending online and had raised more than $23,000.
A week later, and it is still trending having reached $54,620.
“I started the campaign and I said to mum, ‘If we get $10,000 that’d be really something’,” Ms Brown said.
“When I woke up, there was $17,000 already.”
One round of the treatment costs the full $600,000 so the family is very hopeful that will be the answer to their year-long question.
“However many rounds he needs, we want to give him. It would just be so good if the one was enough,” said Ms Brown.
“Money is really the least of what we could give him. Love and support is the main thing.”