The Oncology-Haematology ward at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital is a place that holds stories of courage, stories of survival, stories of loss and stories of unexpected triumph over this disease. The 21-bed ward is home to doctors, nurses and specialists who have dedicated their lives to helping their young patients fight cancer. But most importantly, it’s home to the most remarkable children you will ever meet, children who fearlessly fight a battle most adults could not. Children that need your help.
Aleem Bowman is one such child, his mother would like to share his story with you:
“Aleem was 5 years old when he died. He was such a hyper little boy. He loved playing, colouring, his stickers. He was always a happy child. He had stage 4 neuroblastoma. I started this journey knowing that there was a chance my son could die, but now I know that nothing could have prepared me for the pain of losing my son. When we found out that he would not survive his cancer, we made it our goal to make the last part of his life, the best part. I wanted him to be pain free and happy. We made a bucket list of things he wanted to do. We rode in a Ferrari. We went up Table Mountain. We were supposed to go on a helicopter ride, but the day of the ride he started vomiting blood and we had to rush from the airport to Red Cross. I knew in those moments that were close to the end. All I wanted was to give him everything so I wouldn’t look back and think, “I should have done this with Aleem”. We were in and out of Red Cross for a year. When I walked into this ward it was like walking into a friend’s house. The welcome was always warmer than it was at the last visit. In the beginning, it’s terrifying. You don’t know the nurses or the doctors and this huge devastating thing is happening to your child, but these doctors are so honest. Right from the beginning they told us the truth. They told us “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” – that’s what’s kept me strong. I always hoped more than prepared though. I miss him so much. I know that I did everything I could for Aleem, he didn’t suffer at the end. When he closed his eyes, and took his last breath, he was holding my hand, he was smiling. I knew he was at peace”
Aleem passed away on the 15th of October 2017
How your donation will make a difference:
• Increase the number of isolation rooms for transplant patients who have severely diminished immune systems
• Give parents and patients better access to more bathrooms
• Increase the number of consulting rooms for doctors
• Create critically important space for family counselling
• Create a new space for clinical research
The Children’s Hospital Trust has committed to raising R13.6 million for the upgrade of Ward G1 .
For more information on this project please contact Chantel Cooper.