Mountains, Gem and Milestones2018-08-29T10:44:05+00:00

Project Description

Mountains, Gem and Milestones 

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Martyn and the family were devasted when 10-year old Gemma was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).  Gem, as they call her, initially started showing signs when she had bladder infections and signs of Yellow Jaundice.  Then her teeth suddenly started bleeding and tiny red spots covered her skin.  It wasn’t long until she also suffered from swollen knuckles.  At Christmas time, a medical expert in her family instinctively recognised this as a red flag.

Gemma was then rushed to Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Pinelands, Cape Town, where she was diagnosed.  Leukaemia is the most common cancer in children and teens, accounting for almost 1 out of 3 cancers.  The news left Martyn and the family in distress as they never imagined that their precious little girl would now have to face this terrible journey –  a fight against cancer. – a fight for her life.

Gemma then had a port inserted at Vincent Pallotti Hospital and was transferred to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital’s Oncology Ward.  She was immediately assisted with various tests and a biopsy was performed to identify at what stage Gemma’s condition was. Having undergone the horrifying experience, which the family explained as torture and painful, Gemma was then treated on a low-risk chemotherapy. However, this treatment did not work as best for her condition, and she was moved to a high-risk treatment that would last 6 months.

Gemma’s father had the privilege to share this journey with his daughter and help her through this momentous challenge. Martyn told us that, he was determined and focused to get Gemma through this. His words to Gemma were “Gem, we have a mountain to climb and you are going to climb it with daddy, we are going to climb it together.”

Martyn understood that with good mental health, setting milestones combined with positivity would lighten their process. The first two weeks were a huge shock with pills and injections, anxiety sank deep and their journey became an emotional rollercoaster. However, they persisted and focused on reaching the 6-month goal of getting Gemma to successfully complete her treatment.

Gemma had set her mind on reaching that mountaintop, with her father keeping track of all her milestones. She also started doing art, which allowed her to take her mind off her body’s state and her daily need to take medication and entering the hospital corridors for her next chemotherapy treatment.

Then suddenly, their journey took a toll, when Gemma was faced with an infection, two weeks before completing her 6-month chemotherapy treatment.  She started questioning herself and asked her dad: “Daddy, why me?”  Martyn, being terribly tormented by her question, always tried to brush off the negatively and kept up her spirits.  However, as common as an infection is, Gemma was a strong warrior in battle as she managed to finish her treatment two weeks later, after clearing her infection in a hospital bed.

Currently, Gemma is on a two-year maintenance plan and has already completed the first of the two years. She also visits the hospital once a month for blood tests.

Martyn has seen both the pain and the benefits of their journey. He has seen Gemma’s personality change from shy to a more confident girl and simultaneously he has experienced unconditional love and could not exist without Gem.

Find out about Gem’s latest fundraiser here:

http://gem-nelson-mandela-cancer-fundraiser.creativcherrystudio.co.za/

https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/gemma-gives-back

Gem_Dad

Martyn’s words to Gemma were “Gem, we have a mountain to climb and you are going to climb it with daddy, we are going to climb it together.”

Mountains, Gem and Milestones

Martyn and the family were devasted when 10-year old Gemma was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).  Gem, as they call her, initially started showing signs when she had bladder infections and signs of Yellow Jaundice.  Then her teeth suddenly started bleeding and tiny red spots covered her skin.  It wasn’t long until she also suffered from swollen knuckles.  At Christmas time, a medical expert in her family instinctively recognised this as a red flag.

Gemma was then rushed to Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Pinelands, Cape Town, where she was diagnosed.  Leukaemia is the most common cancer in children and teens, accounting for almost 1 out of 3 cancers.  The news left Martyn and the family in distress as they never imagined that their precious little girl would now have to face this terrible journey –  a fight against cancer. – a fight for her life.

Gemma then had a port inserted at Vincent Pallotti Hospital and was transferred to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital’s Oncology Ward.  She was immediately assisted with various tests and a biopsy was performed to identify at what stage Gemma’s condition was. Having undergone the horrifying experience, which the family explained as torture and painful, Gemma was then treated on a low-risk chemotherapy. However, this treatment did not work as best for her condition, and she was moved to a high-risk treatment that would last 6 months.

Gemma’s father had the privilege to share this journey with his daughter and help her through this momentous challenge. Martyn told us that, he was determined and focused to get Gemma through this. His words to Gemma were “Gem, we have a mountain to climb and you are going to climb it with daddy, we are going to climb it together.”

Martyn understood that with good mental health, setting milestones combined with positivity would lighten their process. The first two weeks were a huge shock with pills and injections, anxiety sank deep and their journey became an emotional rollercoaster. However, they persisted and focused on reaching the 6-month goal of getting Gemma to successfully complete her treatment.

Gemma had set her mind on reaching that mountaintop, with her father keeping track of all her milestones. She also started doing art, which allowed her to take her mind off her body’s state and her daily need to take medication and entering the hospital corridors for her next chemotherapy treatment.

Then suddenly, their journey took a toll, when Gemma was faced with an infection, two weeks before completing her 6-month chemotherapy treatment.  She started questioning herself and asked her dad: “Daddy, why me?”  Martyn, being terribly tormented by her question, always tried to brush off the negatively and kept up her spirits.  However, as common as an infection is, Gemma was a strong warrior in battle as she managed to finish her treatment two weeks later, after clearing her infection in a hospital bed.

Currently, Gemma is on a two-year maintenance plan and has already completed the first of the two years. She also visits the hospital once a month for blood tests.

Martyn has seen both the pain and the benefits of their journey. He has seen Gemma’s personality change from shy to a more confident girl and simultaneously he has experienced unconditional love and could not exist without Gem.

Find out about Gem’s latest fundraiser here:

http://gem-nelson-mandela-cancer-fundraiser.creativcherrystudio.co.za/

https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/gemma-gives-back

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