Youngster's battle with leukaemia provides extra motivation for harness racing driver Matt Anderson

​Winning moments are priceless in the racing game but harness driver Matt Anderson has been given a new context on how precious every minute of life is.

Anderson left for Perth on Thursday to represent New Zealand in the Australasian Young Drivers' Championship which begins on Friday night.

The 24-year-old will drive with the silver fern on his chest and the thoughts of seven-year-old leukaemia sufferer Isaac Southerton​ in his heart.

Anderson, who will be joined in the New Zealand team by Robbie Close, Brad Williamson and Kyle Marshall, knows he is in a privileged position to represent his country, so wants to use the opportunity to give something back to those who are not so fortunate.

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He will donate his driving fees from the week long series in Western Australia to Ronald McDonald House South Island - which doesn't receive direct government funding - plus $10 from every driving fee he earns until the end of January.

One of Anderson's sponsors, McMillan Equine Feeds, will also donate $5 per drive through the same period and Anderson is pestering other drivers to join in.

The 24-year-old has no affiliation with Ronald McDonald House but came across it when he did "a bit homework" to find a suitable charity.

"I'm really fortunate to have been given this opportunity so it's nice to be able to use it to help others, especially families who are going through a tough time," Anderson said.

A visit from Isaac's family, who are currently staying at Ronald McDonald House, to Anderson's workplace has him even more engaged with the cause.

Wellington mother of three Adele Southerton​, who lost her own mother to cancer six years ago, has been staying at Ronald McDonald House since October.

They were given the life changing news of Isaac's leukaemia at 9pm on October 10 and were told to be ready to fly to Christchurch early the following morning with their bags packed for a minimum of six months.

"It's not something you process, there is no time, it just happens," Southerton said.

Isaac's younger siblings, Lucy (4) and Finn (2), are also in Christchurch.

Southerton said it was obviously an incredibly difficult situation but the support of the staff at Ronald McDonald House and meeting families who are in similar situations was a true blessing.

"When you see a family like that face to face and you see what they are going through it changes the way you think. If you put your feet in their shoes and walk their path it's very emotional and sobering," Anderson said.

Early next year, Isaac faces a possibly life-saving stem cell transplant in addition to extensive chemotherapy but his chances of survival are only around 50 per cent.

"It gets tough at times but you have to keep going," Southerton said.

"Isaac handles it all very well."

The transplant will mean six to eight weeks in Auckland.

"It will be March before we get home," she said.

Lucy or Finn could play an important part in saving their brother's life, with the family soon to learn if either of the pair are suitable to be donors for Isaac's transplant.

Ronald McDonald House South Island CEO Matthew Mark says he has been blown away by the generosity and compassion of Anderson who walked in off the street to introduce himself and get a closer look at what the facility achieves.

 - Stuff

Fuente: WAIKATO TIMES