Sahara is 7. As a happy, healthy child she loved ballet, acro and karate and rides along the beach. She would never miss an opportunity to get outside.
In October 2016 Sahara showed signs of gastro and started complaining of headaches, missing school, just not able to kick the bug. Further doctor’s appointments led to either a migraine or neurological issue, so she was referred to a paediatrician followed by an MRI.
On 3 February 2017, Sahara was diagnosed with brain cancer. 12 hours of neurosurgery removed the tumour. Sahara had a left side ataxia, Cerrabella Mutism, followed by a stroke.
A month of intense therapies was given and healing time before Sahara was moved to the Oncology Ward. Barely able to move and with uncontrolled movements to her left side, no speech or sounds to be made, no way of communicating, nose tube to feed, she lost all control of her bladder and bowel. Showering on a flat trolley, nurses repositioning her every 2-3 hrs to prevent bed sores, and with her body de-conditioning, she had to have her mouth suctioned out as she couldn’t swallow.
Then 30 treatments of daily radiation over 7 weeks under general anaesthetic. For 3.5 months Sahara didn’t speak or sit up. Once radiation treatment was finished she was finally able to return “home” for 4-5 weeks, including occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech therapy.
Sahara was doing great, getting stronger, but still unable to walk.
In June 2017 chemotherapy began. Sahara has been in the hospital on average 22 days of every month since with rounds of chemotherapy and the inevitable infections. She has started to lose her hearing and is now having vision problems.
Sahara is wheelchair bound, and still has no control of her bowels or bladder. She is fatigued and her mental state is fragile. Her memory is affected, with emotional outbursts of tears and tantrums for little things. Noise is an issue and when she’s upset she struggles to formulate her words and stops speaking.
Sahara has now completed her last round of chemotherapy. She is a fighter, and The Adventurers are right beside her and her family – funding scientists to discover better treatments and ultimately a cure.