One morning as I was checking my email, a photo of a little girl arrived in my email. She had a sparkle in her eye and the confidence and poise of a princess. But she had one striking feature that made me ask,
What is wrong with her arm?
Her arm was the size of a cantaloupe.
Her name is Chesca and was 5 years old. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer.
Ewing sarcoma is the second most common type of bone cancer in children, but it is very rare. About 200 children and young adults are found to have Ewing sarcoma each year in the United States.
About half of all Ewing sarcoma tumors occur in children and young adults between ages 10 and 20.
This type of cancer is rarely found in African-Americans and Asian-Americans.
It affects slightly more boys than girls.
It does not appear to be inherited (passed down in families). (www.stjude.org/ewing-sarcoma)
In the United States, Chesca would get treatment. But she lived in the Philippines where hospitals will not treat her if she could not pay for treatment.
If no one helped her pay her medical bills, she would die.
We had never had a child with cancer in our program at Maya’s Hope. I did not know what to expect or how to handle it. I saw a child who was suffering simply because her parents couldn’t afford treatment. As she met our criteria for sponsorship, we eagerly admitted her into our program. Maya’s Hope became the sole financial sponsor for her medical treatment in the Philippines.
Chesca faced a few obstacles in the beginning:
she could not walk
the hospital was 3 hours each way
her arm was so heavy that she often had to lie down