Not your average 13-year-old

A story of hope & healing

Two things set Najiya’s childhood apart from most other children you know – Najiya entered her teenage years fighting against all odds like a little champ. On her side is an A-team made up of her doctors, nurses, nutritionist, parents and YOU, our donors!

Currently undergoing treatment for ALL at our partner hospital, she’s had an uphill climb with maintaining a good nutrition status, which is key to coping with the rough side effects of cancer treatment. When she started her treatment, her status was ‘mildly thin’. But as the therapy set in, she also picked up a severe infection that pushed her into severe thinness.

Chanda Yadav, our clinical nutritionist tells us her story -“Najiya developed a rare fungal infection called mucormycosis and had to undergo a surgery that involved removing her upper palate which is the upper part of her mouth. As a result she was unable to eat orally and we had to provide her nutrition through tube feeds. At this point, her parents almost gave up on her treatment as they had all been through so much already. The doctors and I spent time with them to help them understand the situation and help them feel hopeful about the way forward. With careful precision, we created a nutrition plan that would slowly reintroduce her to eat foods that are soft, semi-solid and easy to swallow. It is one of the most challenging cases I’ve dealt with. We’re all so proud that we’ve improved her nutrition status now but she needs to be continuously monitored till she undergoes another surgery to reconstruct her upper palate which will happen after she completes treatment. That is when she will be able to transition to a full normal diet. Coaching her parents and bringing them on board to help stick though the diet plan and follow ups has been key”

The biggest challenge for her parents was surviving in a whole new city, without jobs or a place to stay, eventually leading to food insecurity. Rozi, her mother is so grateful for your support –

“The rations and supplements took a huge burden off our shoulders. It meant one less thing to worry about and helped us put our focus on the treatment. It’s so difficult for us to watch our little girl in pain and we are very grateful to have Chanda who Najiya and I can trust like a friend in this city where we don’t know anyone.”

While it isn’t easy for her to speak, Najiya lets us know what’s on her 13-year-old mind – “I miss school and my friends. English is my favourite subject and I can’t wait to go to English class again. Some day, I will be an army officer and work for my country!”

What’s on Chanda’s mind? She wants you to tell any parents you may know whose children are fighting cancer to stay the course and have faith in the doctors and the treatment. – “Stay strong for your child, and we at Cuddles will stay strong for you!”

Feed a child like Najiya

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