PHOTO: This pic is of mum sharing her story at one of the CHOC projects.

The Journey of a child diagnosed with cancer.

CHOC is the largest NGO in the southern hemisphere that provides support for children and teens with cancer, and their families. CHOC has an African footprint and our aim is to ensure that every child diagnosed with cancer, should reach a treatment centre for treatment.

It is very easy to underestimate the journey taken by a parent to get the correct diagnosis for their sick child. Nompilo Jalubane is proof of the many struggles faced by parents as her 5-year-old daughter Mbalenhle was diagnosed with cancer.

“I did not know a child could have cancer. When her left eye got swollen in June 2016, I took her to the clinic every month, but they always gave her a painkiller until I argued with the nurses that the painkiller was not working. But they told me they knew what they were doing. In October I was referred to Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital where it was found that she had eye cancer, and her eye was so badly damaged it had to be removed. At the time she was also told that the brain was affected and Mbalenhle had to go into ICU because she was also having difficulties breathing”.

After Mbalenhle’s eye was removed Nompilo also had the burden of explaining to her child why she looked different from other children. Nompilo realised the stigma Mbalenhle will face with one eye, so she decided she will normalize Mbalenhle’s condition to grow up being comfortable with herself.

When Nompilo arrived at CHOC she confided she was the only person working in her household and she had to make a decision to quit her job in order to be able to be with her daughter. CHOC assisted Nompilo and Mbalenhle with free board and lodge. When Nompilo returns home CHOC assists with transport costs and groceries. This helps them return home and come back for the next appointment. CHOC psycho-social team who are based in the hospital supports the family.

CHOC continues to raise and the main purpose is to ensure children with cancer and life threatening blood disorders are diagnosed early to improve survival.

Mbalenhle continues with outpatient treatment and is hopeful of Nompilo’s recovery. Nompilo admits this has been the toughest journey she has had to face thus far, but she is very thankful they eventually got to a treatment centre.