Maria by Diane Watt

Maria had been displaying the signs of Leukaemia for a number of months. She had had a number of visits to out of hours doctors who had given medication for tonsillitus and pharyngitus. The headaches, clinic tiredness, sore throat, pains in her legs and swollen tummy that had been evident for about 2 months didn’t go away – but, we didn’t think there was anything seriously wrong. She was 16 and studying hard for exams whilst coping with her Grandparents moving in with us after her Granddad had been diagnosed with Cancer of the Pancreas.

Maria continued to look pale and drawn and began having nosebleeds. A further appointment was made with our GP who ordered a routine blood test. The following day a telephone call came from our local hospital. Maria was horrified at the thought of going to hospital – she had always been fit and healthy. Various tests began and the following day, our family’s nightmare began. Our child had cancer.

Treatment began immediately. We were told about all the various side effects of chemotherapy, hair loss, weight loss, weight gain, diahorrea, sores in the mouth. A daunting prospect for any adult never mind a 16 year old girl.

Our nightmare got worse. Maria passed away 3 weeks and 3 days after diagnosis. All the signs were there and had we been better informed about Child Cancer then we would have done something sooner and maybe the outcome for Maria would have been different.

We support the Be Child Cancer Aware campaign as we don’t want other families to go through what we have gone through. Losing our precious Maria, a fun-loving, intelligent, witty girl who wanted to make her mark on this world, has taken its toll on our family. Our family unit is broken and there is no such thing as a Normal life once your child dies. Leukaemia claimed our daughter’s life and we want to ensure that Childhood Cancer doesn’t claim any more young lives in the future. The only way to tackle this is by “Raising Awareness”.