Philharmonic tunes up for concert for Kenzo
Musicians reach out to help young son of one of their own overcome another blow after cancer
Golf-loving Kenzo Wilson was thrilled to be back on a course after a stint in hospital - but his joy was short-lived.
About to start a round with his father one day in June for the first time since a bone-marrow transplant for leukaemia, he became short of breath.
Kenzo, 11, was rushed to hospital and found to have a life-threatening condition that would require more surgery - this time a lung transplant.
"We were full of hope. Things seem to be going well. But then there was more and more bad news from the doctor," said Kenzo's father, Ron, a former cellist with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, in which his wife, Kaori, plays the viola.
Kenzo is now in Queen Mary Hospital's isolation ward attached to breathing machines and able to speak only in a whisper. "Yesterday he said he was sick of being sick," Ron Wilson said. "He still can't eat sushi and he's very sad. It's his favourite food."
The plight of the Japanese-British boy with bronchiolitis obliterans - an irreversible lung condition possibly brought on by the bone-marrow transplant - has touched the hearts of his parents' fellow musicians. The orchestra will hold a fund-raising concert dubbed "Playing for Kenzo" at the University of Hong Kong on Sunday.
"Everyone wanted to help when we learned of Kenzo's cancer. We're musicians and holding a concert is the best way to show our support," concert master Igor Yuzefovich said.
The musicians aim to raise at least HK$500,000 for Kenzo's treatment and expect more will be needed for a transplant.
As the boy is British-Japanese, doctors suggested he receive the transplant in Japan, where it is more likely to find a matching donor and the doctors are more experienced with the operation.
His mother has been on leave and his father has had to cut down time spent at his string instrument shop to look after Kenzo since he fell ill last year.
He was diagnosed with blood and bone marrow cancer in November and his sister was found to be a suitable donor. The surgery was successful and he was able to go home in April. The latest setback came after his condition had been improving.
Kenzo started learning golf when he was six, and won various awards in Australian Golf Academy tournaments. His passion did not stop with his illness. His father brought him a golfing video game to play in hospital.
Hospital staff looked for past leukaemia patients to support Kenzo and found 15-year-old Hanah Fjelddahl, whose mother is also Japanese. "I had so much support and help from a lot of people. I hope to help Kenzo too," said Hanah, who completed treatment six years ago.
Her father, Chris, urged support for the concert.
"Please go there, enjoy amazing music, and feel great about giving some money. If you have children, encourage them to dip into their piggy banks and give something as well - big or small, everything counts. Help us make it a lot of hands coming together to help one family."
Details of the concert and donation methods can be found at http://playingforkenzo.wordpress.com/