Lucia's story

When Megan Parry, our Programme Cordinator in Mexico, met young Lucia she was greeted with a beaming smile from a beautiful young girl.

Just like many other nine-year-olds around the world, Lucia had a zest for life but this has not always been the case. In 2015, Lucia was made the five-hour journey to Hospital de la Niñez Oaxaqueña (HNO) with her mother, Maria, after she complained of headaches and pains in her legs. Following an initial examination, medical staff diagnosed Lucia with growing pains. A young child that was tall for her age, Lucia returned home but her condition continued to worsen.

Over the following three months Lucia and Maria made several trips back and forth to HNO which came at a great expense to the family. A determined mother, Maria could sense her daughter was suffering from more than growing pains and a blood test eventually showed Lucia had developed the most common form of childhood cancer; acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Megan commented on how an early diagnosis could have saved Lucia from ongoing pain and saved her family from being pushed further into poverty through expensive travel and drug costs;

With such a large disparity between childhood cancer survival rates, Lucia is not alone in having a long and difficult route to an accurate diagnosis. Because Lucia and María have to journey several hours from their home village to the hospital, they are staying at a family hostel at HNO. With the family having to borrow money to pay for antibiotics, the family hostel is a vital part of the hospital’s infrastructure.

World Child Cancer trains healthcare workers in developing countries to recognise the early warning sign of childhood cancer by forming twinning partnerships with healthcare professionals in the developed world. Just £25 could have paid for Lucia to receive an accurate diagnosis. Give children the gift of growing up today.