Friends rally around Luke

FAMILY: Luke Atkinson (middle) with his parents Fiona and Richard Davis.
FAMILY: Luke Atkinson (middle) with his parents Fiona and Richard Davis.

After being given the worst news possible following a series of chemotherapy treatments, Luke Atkinson has reached out to the community with a simple wish.

To spend an evening in the company of friends, and enjoy a movie.

Luke has been fighting Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma since December 2015, but doctors recently told the family that ‘there’s nothing more they can do’.

Luke’s original last wish was to attend the World Scouting Jamboree in the USA, but he can no longer travel due to his condition.

Instead, the Middleback Arts Centre and the Westlands Hotel will be funding a free dinner and movie night out for Luke and 10 of his close friends.

The Middleback will donate 11 tickets for Luke and his friends to see The Fate of the Furious, while the Westlands will provide a meal for the group.

“A night out with friends does sound really good and the movie is probably the one I most want to see,” Luke said.

“Some of these friends I’ve had for a long time, one of them has come over nearly every second night to check up on me.

“I wanted to include all of those who have been there since the start, who hasn’t changed the whole way through.” 

Currently, Luke’s condition means that his heart rate has risen rapidly – with his resting rate up to 120 beats per minute, nearly double the usual resting rate of 60-80bpm.

Luke’s mum Fiona Davis said that family had been focused on keeping Luke’s heart rate down.

“The more that we can keep his heart rate and his stress levels down – which is going to be hard to do – the higher chance he has of living longer,” she said.

Luke has played an important role in the Whyalla community, he was a scout leader for six years, has been involved with the Whyalla Darts Association for seven years, and also started Whyalla’s Live Action Roleplaying (LARP) Group.

He has continued to support the community, even throughout his chemotherapy.

Other organisations putting their support out for Luke include Smokey’s Pizza Bar, the Beach Cafe,  the New Whyalla Hotel, and Rocky’s Pizza.

Luke and his family made special mention of The Leukemia Foundation for providing them with accommodation in Adelaide during his treatment.

“We were there for two months back in December and January, this past month they have put us up as well for free,” Mrs Davis said.

“When all of this happened with Luke we had nine family members come down from Queensland – and the Leukemia Lodge gave them all free accommodation.”