It has been a long fight for 42-year-old Sydney dad Damien MacRae. He has spent 3½ years battling melanoma, and he has now been told that aggressive tumours in his brain have multiplied. Doctors say he has just six to 10 weeks to live.
The devastating news has prompted Damien to issue a final push to see his son Aiden's Surf Rescue Lego set design to fruition. Impacted by his dad's stage 4 cancer, the six-year-old conceived the idea of a sun-safe Lego Surf Rescue set while playing on the floor of his bedroom, and dad Damien then helped him design, build, photograph and pitch the idea on the Lego Ideas website.
By last week, the set had only received 2867 of the 10,000 votes needed in order for Lego to consider it, so Damien took to Facebook to issue a final plea for votes.
If there's one thing he'd like to see out before the end of his life, it's seeing the campaign hit 10,000 votes. He says, "If I sound kinda desperate, I am. It's a lot to burden everyone with but, hey, I'm dying and I think I can be a little self-indulgent."
He admits his son doesn't know about his prognosis just yet, as they await "a more defined timeline".
"If each person who has voted for Lego Surf Rescue so far got 2 or 3 friends, family, far-flung relatives, school friends, work colleagues, neighbours, strangers, Aussies-with-a-heart, to vote, we would reach 10,000 in a week."
Since his post, the set has garnered 4500 votes, with the tally increasing every hour.
He says the project has become even more important since his terminal diagnosis and that the set could increase awareness around sun safety in Australia. Like many kids of past eras, Damien spent his childhood summers at the beach and used very little sun protection. By the time he discovered the spot on his ear was melanoma, it was already at stage 4.
The figures in the surf rescue figures have hats, sunglasses and sunscreen, normalising sun protection during a harsh Australian summer.
You do need to register an account to vote on the Lego Ideas website, and you can also do one-click registration using the Facebook button. It's a set that Lego fans will be buying it for its iconic appeal and its a set we'll be buying to honour Damien and Aiden.