Here six-year-old Zara is seen happily singing and dancing along to music. It’s hard to believe that this video was filmed whilst she was undergoing intensive chemotherapy, within her first few months of being diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtbMKmbwBgM]
Zara’s father Jonny Lundy shares their family’s experience…
Zara was diagnosed with cancer on January 19 2015.
It’s a day that neither of us will forget.
Zara had been unwell for about 4-6 weeks prior to diagnosis. She’d had continuous colds and fevers and had started to rapidly loose weight.
We had taken her to the doctors five times and she’d seen four different doctors. Each of them diagnosed her with an upper respiratory infection. They all missed the symptoms.
On the night before the diagnosis, Zara was unwell and we were waiting for an emergency doctor to visit us at home (they never came).
That night I googled the symptoms and was taken to the Be Child Cancer Aware Website.
I saw some of the symptoms and then immediately suspected that Zara had leukaemia. I took her straight to the doctors for blood tests and from there our journey began.
Can you describe your experience so far?
It has been very difficult. Zara initially stayed in hospital for about three months where she was regularly blasted with high dose chemotherapy which made her very unwell and made her hair fall out.
Why are you so passionate about raising awareness this month?
September marks childhood cancer awareness month.
Childhood cancer and adult cancers are not the same. Adult cancer is often lifestyle or environmentally related and can be caused by smoking, diet and environmental factors. Childhood cancer isn’t typically caused by these factors.
Childhood cancer is the number One disease-related killer of children under the age of 15 and worldwide, every three minutes, a child is diagnosed with cancer.
And those children are stuck using drugs that were researched and developed for adults.
If a child survives treatment, then they are likely to suffer from severe life debilitating problems because of the treatment.
“The idea behind September Childhood Cancer Awareness month is simple – Awareness = Increased Funding = Research = Kinder and safer treatments and hopefully a cure.”
It’s also important to make as many people aware of the symptoms of childhood cancer – if it wasn’t for the Be Child Cancer Awareness website, I dread to think what the outcome could have been.
How’s Zara doing now?
Zara is doing really well everything is going in the right direction and she’s currently in remission. Treatment is scheduled to finish in April 2017. Leukaemia treatment is two years for girls and three years for boys. Although Zara is in remission, she has maintenance chemotherapy every single day and also has two visit hospital at least three times a month for blood test’s and for chemotherapy through her central line (portacath).
To support childhood cancer awareness month and for more info, go to: bechildcanceraware.org
For more information on Candlelighters, a childhood cancer charity supporting families in Yorkshire, go to: www.candlelighters.org.uk