When our Director of Fundraising and Communications, Adam, visited our programme in Ghana he came across Presla, a nine-year-old girl with a bright smile playing with her mother. Presla’s smile shone through despite having received treatment for leukaemia since 2017.
Presla’s mother, Kofi, was also smiling as she held her daughter whilst awaiting for the doctor to join them during his ward round. Kofi spoke about her daughter with passion, pride and hope. With a stethoscope around her Presla’s neck, Kofi told us that her daughter dreams of becoming a doctor one day after watching those at Komfe Anokye Teaching Hospital caring for her and the other children on the ward.
After spending some time with the pair, Kofi told us about the challenges that faced her family when Presla first became unwell. Presla loves going to school but was sent home one day after complaining of aches across her body. When the teachers tried to help feeling where the pains were coming she became even more distressed.
Kofi immediately took her daughter to their local hospital but after four days of tests there was no definitive answer to her pains. Over the next three months Presla and her mother were constantly in and out of hospital, it was only until she started to bleed from the mouth that she was referred to Komfe Anokye Teaching Hospital, which is supported by World Child Cancer. It was here that Kofi learnt that her daughter had leukaemia.
When asked about her reaction when she was told the news, Kofi said;
“I didn’t understand at first, I had only heard of breast cancer before and didn’t know children could be affected by it too. I had no idea there were more than one type of cancer.”
Since her initial diagnosis in November 2017, Presla has been receiving regular treatment which has made her feel more like her normal self. Luckily, Kofi and her family understand how important the treatment is and have been able to provide financial support whilst Presla’s mother is unable to work. Before coming to the hospital, Kofi had a job buying yams from the local farmer to sell at the market. Kofi misses her job but smiles as she looks at her daughter;
“I am looking forward to being able to send Presla back to school. Her favourite subject is maths and I hope she can fulfil her dream of becoming a doctor one day.”
Childhood cancer, if detected early enough can be cured. Presla waited over three months before finally receiving an accurate diagnosis. With your support, we are working on raising awareness of the early warning signs of cancer so local healthcare workers, like those in Presla’s village, can give children with cancer a faster route to treatment and ultimately increase their chances of survival. Help us spread the message of hope by donating today.