Wezi is a six-year-old girl who is full of character. Her mother, Sephora, smiles at her daughter from the end of the bed as he speaks to World Child Cancer’s Health Partnerships and Programme Officer, Meg.
As Wezi sits on her bed at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), Sephora explains to Meg that is was only a few weeks ago that she first sought to seek help for her daughter.
“She began to lose weight so we went to see our local doctor but he could not explain the problem.”
Many healthcare workers from rural areas are unaware of the early warning signs of childhood cancer. World Child Cancer provides training and outreach programmes to raise awareness of childhood cancer and its symptoms. Luckily for Wezi, she and her mother were referred to the district hospital where an x-ray revealed a swelling in her stomach who later referred the pair to QECH.
If detected early enough, Childhood Cancer Can be Cured. That’s why it was so important that Wezi reached QECH, which is supported by World Child Cancer, when first realising something was wrong. She was later diagnosed with Wilms' Tumour.
Over the last three weeks Wezi has been receiving chemotherapy treatment for her cancer. Unfortunately for the family, they had no idea how long that would be away from home for after first making the two-hour journey to hospital from their village meaning they arrived with very little on the ward.
Sephora is not alone in arriving with few home comforts which is why World Child Cancer provides welcome packs for new families arriving on the ward. These are made up of essentials such as rice, tea leaves, soap and more.
Whilst Wezi receives treatment, her father has had to return home to look after their other children but in doing so he is unable to work. The family are developing mountain costs as Wezi is being treated with their income dramatically reduced, however, Sephora’s first priority is making sure her daughter receives the treatment she needs.
In many of our programmes, families are forced to abandon treatment due to an inability to afford hospital fees. With your support, we can reduce abandonment rates and ensure more children, like Wezi, can return home and go back to enjoying their childhood.
“Wezi loves going to school, she misses it now. One day she wants to become a teacher so I hope to see her grow and fulfil her ambitions in the future.”