Tech Savvy

Tablet technology is helping Michael catch up on everything he missed while he was in hospital fighting Leukaemia.

When Michael's mother Sally had to repeatedly take her little boy to the doctor with flu symptoms that just wouldn't go away, she knew something was wrong. Michael was still a toddler when, a year later, he was diagnosed with Leukaemia.

At the end of 2012, Michael finished a marathon three-and-a-half year treatment program. At this time, he should have been attending kindergarten and pre-primary, but he instead spent most of those years on a hospital ward. 

"Treatment is often very aggressive and intense," General Manager of the Leukaemia Foundation of WA, Andrew York explains. "Children who are undergoing treatment often have weakened immune systems, making it difficult for them to attend school even after the treatment is finished."

This has meant that not only has Michael fallen behind in his education, but he has also missed out on important opportunities to interact with his peers. His social skills, as well as his learning and development, have fallen behind.

To help children like Michael keep up with their schooling whilst battling cancer, ToyBox International has used profits from Box Magazine subscriptions to donate two Microsoft tablets to the Leukaemia Foundation's technology library.

Borrowing a tablet from the library means that his family do not have to bear the burden of an additional expense, and that Michael is able to access online reading and maths programs that will help him catch up.

"Mickey was so excited with the tablet," says Sally. "We have noticed it has given him more confidence with his school work and it gives him a chance to work quietly at home without the pressure of school."

Restarting school after so much time off was daunting for Michael at first, but the tablet has eased his transition. "I love school now," he says, "and I'm not going to miss any more days."

Troy Barbagallo