Riley and her mother are from Seawinds on the Cape Flats. She is a bubbly little girl of just over a year and is a light to her doting family. But Riley has come a long way for such a tiny person.
Riley had developed a cold and after a few sleepless nights with her coughing baby, her mother could not bear it any longer. “Riley never showed any other symptoms besides a persistent cough,” her mother tells us. The sound of the cough also raised alarm bells for her mother and she promptly took her to a paediatrician. When x-rays showed an ominous round mass in Riley’s little chest, her mother freaked out completely. “I saw my baby’s life flash in front of me and I just knew that it couldn’t be a good thing.”
The paediatrician diagnosed little Riley with Neuroblastoma, a type of cancer which accounts for 50% of all cancers in infants. She was referred to Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital where the mass growing against her windpipe was almost entirely removed. Her cough disappeared immediately and her parents were extremely relieved and grateful.
Unfortunately, tiny pieces of the tumour could not be removed as it was risky and Riley is currently in hospital for chemotherapy. The chemotherapy does have an adverse effect on the normally cheerful little girl who now cries easily and but her mother is grateful that she has made such an excellent recovery. She cannot praise the staff enough for the dedication, love and care bestowed upon her baby. The family is also grateful to everyone who has supported them during this tough journey. It hasn’t been easy juggling a demanding schedule that includes work and family but their baby’s wellbeing has been the main priority for them. While the journey continues to be a challenge, the family remains hopeful that everything will be back to normal soon.
Riley’s mom has some advice for parents who might be in a similar situation one day. “Always be with your child and give them your time. Seek help immediately if you feel that something is wrong with your child.”