If someone had told me at the end of January that I would tremble every day for my daughter's life it would have seemed impossible to me, at least as much as believing that a tiny virus would paralyze the whole world in a few weeks. Instead ... hospitals, needles, chemo, constant tests and death, this is the everyday reality for the children in the ward. This is our reality today.
Kaia is fighting a neuroblastoma, a malignant tumour that has one goal: to kill children. For my child to win this dramatic and arduous struggle, more than 700,000 zlotys (£135,000 / €154,320 / $167,000) are needed, because the treatments are not covered by the health service.
Please help us save her!
It is enough to dedicate a few moments to childhood oncology to see the other trivial problems from a completely different perspective. Here time passes slowly, moment after moment, and the children, with their bald heads, fight side by side to survive, while their parents, sleeping on the sofas or on the floor next to their beds, make sure that they do not feel alonenot even for a moment.
Nobody would like to accept the worst scenarios, but the reality can be brutal: not everyone manages to win, tumoursdo not show pity.
We spent the last few months of our family life between Poland and Australia, where we finally decided to move permanently; all I had to do was, at the beginning of this year, go back to Warsaw to complete a big project. I decided to bring my youngest daughter with me, who was unlikely to endure such a long separation from her mom, while her older sister would have stayed in Sydney with her dad.
Shortly before departure Kaia started to have troubling ailments, and swollen eyes, but the doctors in Australia calmed us thinking that there was nothing serious, and giving us the green light to leave. As we later discovered, this was the prelude to the drama that swept us over a few days later in Poland. Shortly after arrival, the symptoms recurred, accompanied by swelling of the head. After seeing a pediatrician, we went to the hospital for thorough investigations. When, after having done the CT scan, I saw the expression of the doctor, I felt my knees bend: a large mass in the brain, probably a tumor with infiltrations.
The decision was immediately taken to bring Kaia to the children's health centre in Warsaw; I was absolutely unprepared for such an event, even the doctor lent me a jacket for my daughter. The only thing I could do was immediately call my husband on the other side of the world and tell him topack up as quickly as possible and immediately return to Poland with our other baby, because little Kaia was seriously ill and her life threatened.
By completing the tests, the diagnosis was quickly made, a neuroblastoma, a malignant and aggressive tumour of the nervous system; a giant tumour in Kaia's small head, a monster the size of a golf ball that pushed towards the eye and made her temples swell. To make matters worse, located in such a way that it cannot be removed; only chemo gives us the hope that it can be reduced, and then be operable.
Over the past few weeks Kaia has undergone 7 anaesthesia, two CT scans, an MRI, scintigraphy, PET, spinal injections and bone marrow sampling, IV, transfusions, 5 chemo cycles and much more. So, I found out I have the bravest girl in the world!
But this is only the beginning of an extremely difficult path: months of struggle await us, which should lead us to surgery, a stem cell transplant and a new immunotherapy, anti-GD2, which significantly increases the chances of survival.
Unfortunately, the National Health Service currently does not cover these therapies, and the costs are exorbitant. And how can we find such a huge amount, especially at this time when our life has been completely turned upside down?
That's why we have no choice but to ask for help.
By Olga – the mother