Back to school helps Milla get better
Youngster Milla Ward is on the road to recovery.
The five-year-old Maungawhau School student was diagnosed with a wilms tumour, a form of kidney cancer, in October last year after her parents noticed an unusual bulge in her stomach.
It’s been a tough time for the family, but Milla’s mum Marnie St John says her daughter’s prognosis is positive, with surgery in December removing the 1kg tumour.
They’ve received plenty of support from family, friends and the Child Cancer Foundation, which is holding its annual appeal this week.
“My mum came up from the King Country for a month and friends would drop off frozen dinners,” says Marnie.
Milla was weak for several months after the surgery and is scheduled to receive chemotherapy until June, but the Mt Eden resident says the family made the tough decision to send Milla to school this term.
While the chemotherapy lowers Milla’s immunity, making her more susceptible to infection, Marnie says going to school has also been a lifeline of sorts for her daughter and the family.
“They do lose a lot of confidence, so that’s why school is such a good thing for her. The big thing is making life as normal as possible.”
Marnie says the most difficult part of the treatment for Milla was watching her go though the pain of constantly having injections for blood tests and other treatment.
“At one point they suspected she might have a blood clot. I was injecting her morning and night which added up to around 80 injections.”
She says there’s been no time to dwell on the situation.
“You just have to keep going. Every parent in the ward at Starship is doing the best they can for their children.”
Child Cancer Foundation chief executive Neil Porteous says the appeal week provides a major part of the organisation’s funding, which enables it to support children during treatment and research projects.
He says it gets no government funding, which means public donations and corporate sponsorship are vital.
Marnie says having access to the foundation’s drop-in centre and support workers has been a huge help.
Collectors will be out across the city for the appeal or visit www.childcancer.org. nz, phone 0900-4-CHILD (0900-424-453) to donate $20 or text BEAD to 206 to donate $3.
Getting better: Mt Eden resident Marnie St John with her daughter Milla Ward, who is recovering from a battle with kidney cancer after being diagnosed in October last year.