Four-year-old Nadiya sits quietly in her bed whilst a nurse gently administers her medicine. Having been through this many times before, she appears unphased by the needle as she directs her attention elsewhere. Nadiya’s father Hari and mother Bimala sit by her side, as they always have, watching carefully. Nadiya was diagnosed with Wilm’s Tumour, a rare form of kidney cancer, at Kanti Children’s Hospital (KCH), Nepal, and has now been receiving treatment for six months.
Back in her home town in Gulmi, western Nepal, Nadiya would miss school time and again due to constantly feeling unwell. Nadiya’s parents brought her to KCH after they realised that their local doctor’s efforts were not helping. Her parents did not hesitate to bring her to Kathmandu, despite being over 200 miles away from their home and having to borrow large amounts of money to get there and afford treatment.
Upon their arrival at KCH, Nadiya’s parents were relieved to learn that her cancer was in its early stages, but they still struggled immensely in coming to terms with the fact their daughter had cancer. It was especially difficult for Bimala who was also having to deal with losing her teaching job to stay by her daughter’s side at a hospital many miles from home.
This was all whilst being separated from her husband, Hari, who had to continue working in order to make money for Nadiya’s treatment. Hari says it has been difficult to change his focus in supporting his sick child to also have to support his wife – both financially and emotionally.
Emotional support for parents of children with cancer
Being told your child has cancer can take a toll on families’ mental health and happiness. For children, having cancer can also be scary, confusing and isolating, especially when they are being treated at hospitals far away from home for long periods of time. This emotional strain and stress can often lead to families abandoning treatment, significantly reducing their child’s chances of survival.
Nadiya is now also missing months of school due to her extended hospital stay, which in itself can be difficult for children as they are leaving their friends and daily routines behind in exchange for a hospital bed and months of often painful treatment.
World Child Cancer works to limit the damage caused by cancer within families and to reduce treatment abandonment rates by providing emotional support to vulnerable families. We support counselling services for parents and children alike to help them cope with the challenges of childhood cancer and to give them the confidence to complete treatment. Even when these children make good progress throughout treatment, they and their families are often overwhelmed and endure great stress.
By funding hospital schools and providing financial support to children and their families, we help provide some relief from anxiety about finances and a welcome break from the monotony of life at hospital.
Bimala has been doing her best to teach Nadiya during her treatment to make sure she is ready to go back to school and has something to keep her mind off her cancer. Nadiya loves dancing and wants to be an airplane pilot when she grows up. Bimala and Hari just want their daughter to be happy and healthy and have hope that Nadiya will make a full recovery.
You can help us ensure that more families like Nadiya’s receive the necessary emotional support to help them get through treatment by donating today. Donating £20 could pay for five parents to attend a support group session to help them cope with the emotional toll of having a child with cancer. This will ultimately give more families the confidence and strength to continue their child’s treatment and will increase their chance of survival.