Summary: For Mabz and her husband, Ernest the joy of their first baby turned to desolate fear when their little girl, Kanza was diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was just five days old.
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A chance ultrasound scan detected a large mass on the left side of Kanza’s brain. The paediatric team knew straight away it was a tumour, but Kanza, from Croydon, was too tiny for their operating equipment. She urgently needed specialist surgery so was referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital, where she underwent two major operations in the first two weeks of her life.
Chemotherapy followed. It was such a lot to deal with for a tiny baby who’s brand new lungs and kidneys were barely able to withstand such intensive but life-saving treatment.
“It was a rollercoaster”, says Mabz. “Kanza was my first and only child. It was very emotional but she was so strong and made positive progress, so that helped each day go by”
Mabz heard about Dreams Come True through the Chartwell Cancer Trust, who run local support groups for children and families undergoing treatment for cancer or leukaemia. One of the parents mentioned Dreams Come True and Mabz immediately though how wonderful it would be to treat Kanza to a short family break.
“It feels as though the only time Kanza gets to go out for a trip is to see the hospital or a doctor. Now that she is more aware, she starts screaming and crying whenever she sees a doctor, so I just want to give her a proper break from all that. A short trip would have such a positive effect because it’s something different for her to see, rather than the same four walls and hospitals. It’s a fun time out that would bring a good energy to the whole family.”
Mabz is immensely proud of her brave little girl, who has been through more in her short life than most people experience in a lifetime.
“Kanza is really strong. I don't know how she went through all that. She has got a huge scar on her head but now that her hair has grown, it’s hard to believe what she has been through. Everyone always says ‘wow – are you sure that it’s this child that went through all that!’