Palliative Care
Photo Credit: Katherine Lorena

Katherine Lorena has shared the news that her daughter, who is fighting cancer, is coming home for palliative care and to be with family; they need all the support during this next phase of the cancer battle.


South Africa (22 October 2021) – Happiness and comfort, these are the things people care for most when cancer takes hold and medical intervention can no longer fight the dreadful disease. Palliative care is vital especially when children need it.

The reality is childhood palliative care is often overlooked due to how heartbreaking the reality is. Organisations like PatchSA hope to change this.

Sadly this is the case for Leila Lorena. Leila has been battling Ewing’s Sarcoma, a cancer of the bones and soft tissue surrounding them. She underwent chemotherapy at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital for 6 months before the fire gutted parts of the hospital. Thereafter, Leila’s mother Katherine was given the opportunity to take her to Miami, Florida for further medical treatment.

Leila and Katherine settled into their new routine in Miami as the medical treatment got underway. From receiving a bone transplant in the tibia to completing several weeks of chemo. Sadly, as of September, Leila’s health took a turn. Her chemo was put on hold and she was rushed to emergency.

“MRI, CT scans, blood cultures, antibiotics later and she is still on morphine just to manage her pain. There are signs of Avascular necrosis in her hips and knees as well as neuropathy.

She can not stand up nor walk with crutches.”

Katherine then went quiet for a time but has since come forward to share the news that the next step in Leila’s care will be palliative. Katherine has had to make the tough choice, stay in Miami with state-of-the-art medical care, or come home and settle back into life in South Africa where Leila can be with loved ones.

“My new goal at the moment is to help Leila heal sufficiently to be able to withstand a 29hr journey home, so that she can be surrounded by her beloved dogs, father, family and friends and find comfort and peace.”

Katherine is living each day alongside Leila, working to make her happy and comfortable. She has kicked off the crowdfund again to raise the funds needed to support Leila. She plans to partner with PatchSA and a few other palliative care organisations.

“I will need to find an orthopedic surgeon for following up on her leg healing, an oncologist should we find a chemotherapy treatment she is responsive to, a nurse to help us monitor her at home as well as radiologist for scans to determine diseases status…

We have been in contact with Patch – an NGO providing palliative care for children and they have offered us some support in terms of setting up a hospice type situation at home…

I need to be proactive. I dont have the luxury of time and dont want to be in a position where Leila is too weak and sick to make the trip home.”

PatchSA supports families, individuals and organisations providing palliative care to children. They provide information, resources, strategic support, networking opportunities and specialised training in children’s palliative care within South Africa.

“Palliative care is NEVER about giving up hope. It is about making every moment count and helping families think about what hope may look like for their child.” – PatchSA

PatchSA has a network of organisations working with children. They will be able to direct you to an organisation closest to you. For more information about PatchSA, check out the Facebook page here or the website here.

Katherine hopes that Leila’s story will touch the lives of many. If you would like to support them both, you can do so via the BackaBuddy crowdfund here.

Sources: Supplied
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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