Eight-year-old Cadi from Paarl in the Western Cape is a past-patient of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and currently features in the “Words kids shouldn’t know” campaign that launched on 1 March 2016.
Cape Town, South Africa – Cadi was first diagnosed in July 2014 with Craniopharyngioma, a benign brain tumour. Her diagnosis was a huge shock to the family. Initially, Cadi had visited a private Endocrinologist, because her parents noticed that she was not growing as fast as other children her age. When the MRI results came back, her family were devastated that their seemingly healthy and energetic daughter had been diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Cadi’s mom, Celeste, says that they were advised to take Cadi to see Professor Fieggen, a paediatric neurosurgeon at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. For nine long months, Celeste and her husband believed that their daughter had a brain tumour. After many tests, doctors discovered that Cadi did not have in fact a brain tumour, but rather a Rathke’s Cleft Cyst. This is a non-cancerous growth that had formed on her pituitary gland under her brain, causing her growth to be stunted.
“To us as a family this was the best news ever and filled our hearts with so much joy,” says.
Cadi only had to spend four days at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, and her cyst was endoscopically removed on 9 July 2015. During Cadi’s stay at the hospital, she and her family were treated very well.
Celeste says, “I really could not have asked for a better team to take care of Cadi or better nurses to look after my child.”
Although Cadi was in discomfort at times, the nurses would always bring a smile to her face.
“The staff became our family, they all went the extra mile for us and really had empathy for what we were going through.”
Despite little Cadi’s cyst unfortunately returning, it is manageable, and she doesn’t have to undergo more surgery, for which her family are relieved. Celeste is also very grateful that they now only have to take their daughter for annual MRI’s – a medical milestone to be proud of.
“Cadi is currently living a normal bubbly life and we are so grateful to the team of doctors who have been on this journey with us.”
With a dire shortage of Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in Africa, a R100 million-plus expansion and upgrade of the Paediatric ICU (PICU) at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital will significantly improve intensive care services delivered to critically ill and injured children. Capacity will also be greatly increased, addressing the desperate need for more beds to treat some of the country’s sickest little patients.
Currently, the 22-bed PICU at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital is the largest ICU for children in Africa. It provides emergency care for critically ill or injured children from within the Western Cape, the rest of South Africa and the African continent. The demand is driven by the increases in surgery requirements and escalations in the detection of serious illnesses. In essence, the demands on this unit are higher than its capacity to deliver.
With the majority of funding already secured for the building of this life-saving unit, the Children’s Hospital Trust – the official fundraisers for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital – are calling on the public to help raise the final R10 million for the building between March and June.
Cadi has been a part of the “Words kids shouldn’t know” campaign that aims to raise the final R10 million for the upgrading and expansion of the paediatric ICU at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.
“This is such an amazing campaign and we feel honoured to be part of it,” says Celeste.
Cadi is embracing her childhood and helping the Children’s Hospital Trust to raise money to give other sick children their childhoods back too.
Brent Lindeque & #TheGoodStuff team got to speak to Cadi, click the link below to listen to the incredible interview.