Duygu was a happy, healthy and active child up until she was 5 years old. She had never been to hospital or ever needed to use any medication. Just before she was diagnosed, she had a continuous cold. I couldn't control her
fever with any medicine. She lost her appetite and started losing weight. Duygu was also complaining of pains in her knees. Her classroom was on the 5th floor and they were walking everyday so I thought she was just getting tired.
One day when she was in the shower, she started complaining that her neck hurts so much it hurt to hold her head up. After three weeks with colds, I took her to the GP. They said she looked fine and sent us home with a 10-day course of
antibiotics, but she didn’t get any better. I knew she wasn’t right, so I took her to A&E. They examined her and said she looked fine, but I wasn’t happy, so I went back to the GP and insisted on blood tests. A day later she was diagnosed.
It was the worst day of our lives. The doctor told me it was Leukaemia. I couldn't understand a word of it. I had to ask my husband to translate it for me.
Her treatment took 2 years and 3 months, but it felt like it was like 20 years to us. My younger daughter was only 9 months old when Duygu was diagnosed. We spent most of our time in hospital, it became our second home now.
Trying to juggle being at hospital and home with my baby daughter and it wasn't easy. It was very draining.
Duygu became a different child when she was receiving chemotherapy and steroids. My lively, fun child was gone, and a moody, aggressive, mostly hungry child came. She was crying for hours when she was on steroids, and I had to
look after my baby at the same time who also needed her mummy. I was so emotionally exhausted but knew I had to carry on. When the steroids finished my Duygu came back to her bubbly lively happy self. Singing and dancing again
as well as drawing pictures for other poorly children.
When her treatment finished, we really needed a break, somewhere clean and hygienic for Duygu as there is always a high chance of infection. We were put in contact with Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund. They awarded us a holiday in
one of their respite holidays homes in Shorefield. It wasn't too far away from the hospital if we needed it. It was a perfect place to be away from the hospital and escape the world of Cancer and Leukaemia for a while. It was clean and hygienic and what we needed to recover from the trauma of childhood cancer.
We had an amazing break with all good memories, thanks to Lennox. We are very grateful to them as they were there when we needed them as a family.
Thank you, Lennox,