Following in the footsteps of his father, five-year-old Ashton Readett wants to be a firefighter and State Emergency Service (SES) volunteer when he grows up.
Despite his age Ashton, known as Frankie to family and close friends, has already been dubbed a hero for the strength he's shown whilst battling T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma- a rare and aggressive cancer.
Inverell's community has rallied around Ashton, his mother Annemaree, father Greg and three older brothers Liam (12), Aidan (10) and Luke (nine) after the diagnosis in April, just four days after his birthday.
Almost $16,000 has already been raised through a GoFundMe page to financially assist the local family now and into the future.
Family friends Leanne Schuhmacher and Sonya Lange, with the approval of Ashton's family, set up the 'Help Ashton Kick Cancer' GoFundMe page around three weeks ago and have since been blown away by the response.
"At the time Ashton and Annemaree were rushed to John Hunter hospital the country was in lockdown due to Coronavirus. This meant the rest of the family had to remain in Inverell and Ronald McDonald House had no clue when they'd be operating again," Leanne said.
"We knew being away from his family would impact on Ashton's ability to get through this successfully and we thought we'd try to get some funds together for the family in case they wanted to go down and visit."
To assist with fundraising efforts some have pledged to colour their hair while others have gone completely bald for the cause.
Greg, Aidan, Luke and Leanne were the first to participate in the brave shave and others promptly joined in promising to follow suit at fundraising milestones.
All documented on the Facebook like page 'Help Ashton Kick Cancer', Inverell Rescue Squad captain Jason Tom and secretary Kylie South were the next to part ways with their hair- but for Jason it was his 20-year-old beard.
Sonya then jumped on the hair-colour bandwagon pledging to go from a bright purple to brown before completely shaving it off. After going red and yellow at Ashton's fire truck look-alike request, Tony English will also shave his head.
Aboriginal Elder Kelvin Brown has opened the bidding to part ways with his ponytail for the right amount and more pledges will be posted on Facebook in the weeks to come.
"It's amazing, we keep finding out about things people are doing to raise money for Ashton and his family. Woolworths are running a raffle across nine stores and an upcoming charity day is being organised.
"The local firies are coming on board with a physical challenge which we will live-stream on Facebook, probably around the end of July. We recognise just how hard it has been for people to give any money at the moment so we are keeping each fundraising goal at a reachable target," Sonya said.
Leanne said the family have been so humbled by the outpour of support.
"Every time you speak to them, they're in tears. Ashton keeps asking 'why are these people doing this for me?'."
Those who aren't able to bid on Facebook auctions or donate through the GoFundMe page are invited to drop by The Australian Cafe in Otho Street.
As Annemaree is the beneficiary of the GoFundMe page, she has already been able to access some funds to assist whilst in Newcastle.
Sonya and Leanne will ensure all funds raised are channeled through the GoFundMe page as a show of transparency to the community.
Knowing Ashton loves music and isn't afraid to belt out a tune, Kylie South set up another Facebook page called 'Sing for a Smile: Help Ashton Kick Cancer'.
Music icons Diesel, Jimmy Barnes and Deborah Conway, along with talented musicians from across the nation have recorded and posted songs for Ashton.
"It's something that gives him distraction and joy. He loves music and he loves to play music so it means a lot when he sees the videos on Facebook," Sonya said.
Originally the family were told Ashton would be looking at a stay in Newcastle for eight months before he might be able to go home to Inverell for a short visit.
At the moment, Ashton has zero Neutrophils (which make up the majority of white blood cells) which means he cannot fight off infection.
"His chemo has been put on hold at the moment so he will be in Newcastle for eight months minimum. He's already facing a set-back but we really believe that the show of support, messages from emergency crews, live music performances and kindness on Facebook is boosting his spirits," Leanne said.
"We've had a five-year-old boy donate $10 pocket money he earned from can recycling to Ashton so he could buy a toy to make him feel better.
"We've had generous businesses donate money and auction items, some people have donated hundreds, some have donated $5, some have sung for Ashton, others have bid on auctions or simply liked and shared the page because that's all they can do, but it all helps and it all means so much," Sonya added.
To find out more about Ashton's journey, head to the GoFundMe page 'Help Ashton Kick Cancer' and be sure to like and contribute to the two Facebook pages. With more pledges and fundraisers planned, all updates, auctions, information and messages will be posted through social media.
Contact Leanne and Sonya through the 'Help Ashton Kick Cancer' Facebook page. Both ladies are keen to assist anyone in the community with ideas to help the local family through this journey.