Most read: The young Aussie mum who won't tell her five-year-old son he's dying - 'I just don't know how to have a conversation about it'

This story was first published on Sunday September 9.

Joshua has rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of terminal soft tissue cancer. Source: 1 NEWS

A young Australian mum has decided not to tell her 5-year-old son he's dying.

Hannah White's son, Joshua, was diagnosed in 2016 with a terminal form of cancer and to avoid casting a shadow over his remaining days she decided to keep the hurt hidden and keep him smiling.

Joshua has rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of soft tissue cancer.

"If you actually met my little boy, he's full of life," Hannah told Nine.

"He's so energetic and when you see him you wouldn't think that his fate has already been determined, at all, like you cannot tell he is sick.

"I think I just want to keep it that way and I don't want to… I don't even know how to start a conversation with him about it."

While Hannah, 23, is glad she has decided not to tell him about his diagnosis, if he asks she says she wouldn't lie to him.

"It just hasn’t come up yet."

She also has two younger children Torii-Lee, four and Maleeyah, two who haven't asked about their brother's illness.

"I don't think they would understand either," she said.

Hannah and her three kids were on holiday in Queensland when Joshua got ill. They took him to hospital where they were given the news.

The then four-year-old went through 40 cycles of chemotherapy and 24 cycles of radiation treatment.

While Joshua was undergoing treatment and supporting him, she had to make a tough decision to miss her youngest, Maleeyah, walking and talking for the first time.

"It was hard, and still is hard but at the end of the day, I guess you have to do what you need to do to save your child."

She says the community were supportive of her decision not to tell him the entire truth.

"Questions don't get asked, especially when my kids are around."

You can support Joshua via his Facebook page.


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At least 21 reported killed in crash between bus and tanker in Iran

Iranian media are reporting that at least 21 people died in a road accident when a bus overturned following a collision with a tanker on a road in central Iran.

Today's report by the semi-official Tasnim news agency says the accident happened today on the road linking the cities of Kashan and Natanz, about some 250 kilometres southeast of the capital, Tehran.

It says 20 people were also injured in the crash and were taken to local hospitals.

Amateur video broadcast on Iranian media shows a burning bus, with flames rising into the nighttime sky.

With some 17,000 motorists killed annually, Iran has one of the world's worst traffic safety records, attributed to disregard for traffic laws, unsafe vehicles and inadequate emergency services.

Iran map (file picture).
Iran map (file picture). Source: istock.com

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Tornado spawned by Hurricane Florence hits town in Virginia, smashing building and killing one

One person was killed after the remnants of Hurricane Florence spawned an apparent tornado that touched down in the Richmond area in Virginia today and caused a building to collapse, authorities said.

A Chesterfield Fire/EMS spokesman said the victim was a man who worked at Old Dominion Flooring. 

The spokesman said when fire crews arrived the store's manager told them that all of the store's employees were accounted for, except for one man.

The spokesman said emergency personnel were working to recover the unidentified man's body. 

A second person was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Dominion Energy reported 6,000 customers were without power due to the storm.

A spokesman for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management said his agency considers the storms part of the remains of Florence, which left flooding rains across much of North Carolina and parts of South Carolina over the weekend.

One person was killed in the tornado that touched down in Richmond. Source: Associated Press

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Needle found in Sydney apple amid strawberry contamination crisis - report

A mother has reportedly found a needle inside an apple she bought from a Woolworths supermarket in Sydney's northwest.

The Seven Network today reported the needle was found in a six-pack of Pink Lady apples purchased from a supermarket at The Ponds.

The Kellyville Ridge mother reportedly found the needle when peeling an apple for her daughters this morning.

"I just thought wow this can't possibly be happening," she told the Seven Network.

"Not in apples. I'd seen the news about the strawberries and I'd been vigilant about cutting those up for the girls but to see this in an apple ..."

A Woolworths spokesman told AAP "we're aware of the customer report and understand police are investigating".

"The details have been referred to the authorities leading the response to this matter and we'll consult with them on next steps," he said in a statement.

New South Wales Police say they are investigating and have called a press conference to discuss the matter.

Needles have been found in strawberries across Australia with New Zealand announcing this week it would pull the Australian-grown fruit from its supermarket shelves.

A health warning to throw out or cut up strawberries remains in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia.

Cripps Pink apples just in from harvest at an apple orchard
Apples (file picture). Source: istock.com


Oxfam claims NZ among countries hit by tax-shifting drug companies

Global charity Oxfam claims four pharmaceutical corporations are not paying $21 million in New Zealand taxes every year by stashing their profits in overseas havens.

It says Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer are systematically shifting their profits to unfairly avoid paying higher tax in the countries where they operate.

Oxfam said the companies avoid billions of dollars in tax across 16 countries.

It found subsidiaries located in tax havens were on average significantly more profitable than those located elsewhere.

"That is not what one would expect if the geographic distribution of profits reflected the geographic distribution of the real value of economic activities," it said.

It is calling on the Government to require multinational corporations based here to publish key financial information about their operations in every country.

The charity said New Zealand took positive steps this year by passing the Tax (Neutralizing Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) Act.

Its New Zealand executive director, Rachael Le Mesurier, said the companies' practices were not unlawful but they were depriving governments of money to spend on public services and alleviating poverty.

"In no way is Oxfam saying that these companies have undertaken anything strictly illegal but what it does involve is a complex mechanism of setting up where their patents are based for their medicines," she said.

Inland Revenue calls Oxfam report methodology "completely misrepresenting"

But John Nash from Inland Revenue said the charity was using methodology which completely misrepresented what was happening in this country.

"Oxfam have applied a global average profit margin, which attributes just far too much profit to New Zealand, you really need to look at what is actually done in New Zealand, what functions are performed here, what assets are utilised and what risks are taken."

He said IRD's monitoring of companies is detailed.

"We have a comprehensive compliance programme which looks at all multinational companies with $30 million of turnover and upwards so we really do cover the field quite comprehensively.

But Mr Nash would not be drawn in on whether the four multinationals named by Oxfam were shifting profits overseas and said he could not comment on specifics.

Revenue Minister Stuart Nash said he had asked officials to look into Oxfam's report.

"I won't be talking to the companies [named by Oxfam] but I will be asking officials just for a brief report on the Oxfam document and give me an idea on whether their figure was close to the mark or in fact the modelling they used was way off," he said.

New legislation tightening rules on tax for multinational companies came into effect in July, Mr Nash said.

He suspected the effects of the legislation to already be happening.

All the firms say they abide by tax laws and pay all taxes owed in New Zealand.

In a statement, a Pfizer spokesperson said it abides by all accounting and tax laws wherever it does business and pays all taxes due.

Abbott spokesman Scott Stoffel said it does not sell pharmaceuticals in New Zealand.

"Abbott is a responsible and transparent tax payer, paying all of its taxes owed in every country in which it operates around the world," Mr Stoffel said in a statement.

"With businesses in more than 150 countries, our tax contribution is substantial and global in scope, and we make significant contributions to the health and economies of societies around the world.

"This includes the impact of our products, people, taxes, and purchases of local goods and services, as well as public-private partnerships to strengthen health systems and meet critical health needs."

Johnson & Johnson said as well as paying its fair share of taxes, it also worked closely with the New Zealand government to deliver greater access to life-saving medicines.

"The Oxfam report released today paints a distorted picture of Johnson & Johnson's commitment to the patients and the global communities we serve and to Johnson & Johnson's commitment to paying our fair share of taxes," it said in a statement.

"Johnson & Johnson complies with tax requirements in every jurisdiction, including New Zealand, where we operate with consistently high accounting, tax filing and tax reporting standards.

"Johnson & Johnson's publicly filed financial statements show $27.67 billion in income taxes from 2013 to 2017, before significant additional contributions for VAT/sales taxes, employment taxes, social contributions, property taxes, import and customs duties," it said.

"In addition, Johnson & Johnson values and strives for cooperative and transparent relationships with taxing authorities including the Inland Revenue Department in New Zealand."

By Gill Bonnett 

rnz.co.nz

Pharmacist holding medicine box and capsule pack in pharmacy drugstore.
Pharmaceuticals on pharmacy shelf (file picture). Source: istock.com