Costly battle

Cancer survivors and their families meet up with President Jioji Konrote last Friday. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

PROVIDING the best possible care for a child fighting cancer is costly, says Tokasa Ratabua.

However, thanks to organisations such as WOWS Kids Fiji, part of that cost is being met.

Ms Ratabua’s daughter Laisa, Naisau, 10, was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2015.

“Laisa used to have very severe headaches on and off and we took her to the hospital ev­ery time she complained of a headache,” she said.

“It was on our third visit that a blood test was done and cancer was detected.”

Ms Ratabua said there had been challenges while Laisa was undergoing treatment.

“Paying for transportation was a real struggle until WOWS Kids stepped in and took care of all our transportation costs to and from hospital during the last three years of treatment.

“We are deeply thankful to WOWS for their support.

“I also like their new programs with us; the empowering workshops that make us think of ways to improve ourselves through spiritual and emotional counselling, proper nutrition and on financial literacy and starting a small business,” she said.

Ms Ratabua said the attitude of relatives added to the stigma attached to cancer and made life difficult for her family.

“They started saying that Laisa will not survive cancer. The thinking is that everyone diagnosed with cancer will die.

“We have to move away from that thinking, cancer in children is curable.

“Children just have to be diagnosed early so treatment can start early and this increases their chances of survival.

“All of Laisa’s treatments were conducted at the Lautoka Hospital and I want to thank staff nurse Loata and the staff of the hospital. She underwent treatment once a month at the hospital.”

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