When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Our miracle baby's cancer battle
IT was the day the Lucas family’s world fell apart.
Tina will never forget the thoughts tormenting her as she lay on the nursery floor watching her baby Sofia sleep.
The mum-of-two was too scared to close her eyes all night, terrified that the moments she stole to kiss her six-month-old daughter’s plump cheek or smell her soft blonde wispy hair were numbered.
Hours earlier she and her husband Mike were told their daughter had cancer and her tumour was bigger than 8.3cm.
“I remember thinking this could be the last time I saw her,” says Tina.
“When you’re told your baby has got cancer, in your brain you just think that’s it.
“You think it’s older people who have cancer, not children.
“When you hear that word, it’s like hearing your baby has been served a death sentence.
“It was the worst day of our lives.”
But there was hope and today, eight months later and aged just 14 months old, little Sofia is surviving cancer.
She might look like any other baby just back from underwater swimming classes and grinning with chocolate smothered around her mouth.
But unlike most babies her age, she has a scar the width of her belly- a reminder of her battle with cancer.
“She has fought to get here and remains to fight to continue to be with us as a family,” says Tina, 38.
“She is just amazing. What she has been through, she’s so brave.
“Sofia is our little miracle baby. She’s a little fighter.”
And it’s a fight the family will never forget.
It began when Sofia went into Southampton General Hospital for a routine check up for a suspected dairy allergy in January.
But the doctor who examined her felt a large lump on one side of her tummy.
An agonising eight-hour wait followed before hearing the news that would change their livesshe had kidney cancer.
A week later she had a biopsy of the tumour and her kidney before she underwent a gruelling five weeks of chemotherapy which left her sick and unable to eat. Instead she was fed from a nasal tube for months.
The biopsy revealed Sofia had a rare form of kidney cancer, Wilms’ tumour.
On Valentine’s Day and aged just eight months, she underwent the high risk operation to remove her entire kidney and the tumour before another five weeks of chemotherapy.
“I was just breaking down in tears the whole time. I never felt relief like it when she came up from recovery,” says Mike, 36.
Tina adds: “Everyday it felt like we were living somebody else’s nightmare.
If I look back now I don’t know if I’d be able to get through it again because it wasn’t like it was us there, it was like a nightmare we were living.”
On April 15 this year Sofia had her end of treatment X-rays and scans which showed she was cancer free.
But despite being in remission, her family still faces an uncertain future.
There is a ten per cent chance the cancer could return and Sofia faces regular scans and X-rays until she is ten.
“It’s like wishing her life away almost because we want her to be clear. There’s still a ten per cent in the back of your mind the whole time. As a parent you want it to be 100 per cent safe.
“We do look to the future, but only until the next scan at the moment.”
They said they couldn’t have coped without the help of local organisations and charities including the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer which supplied them with a reflux wedge so Sofia could sleep without being in pain, a baby swing and a holiday.
But they both say their four-year-old daughter Jessica has helped them through the worst times and their battle has changed their outlook on life.
“I can watch my girls and get tears in my eyes because I think they are so amazing,” Tina says.
“It makes you treasure every moment, because each moment we have we think we may not have had that.”
- THE James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer which supported Tina, Mike and Sofia is hosting Britain’s Biggest Curry Party (BBCP) – and wants everyone to get involved.
The fundraising event takes place next week from Monday, October 21 until Sunday, October 27.
Schools, colleges, workplaces, clubs, friends and families are all encouraged to host their own curry parties to raise money and awareness of kidney cancer.
Even villages are encouraged to join in with residents providing a dish and people who come putting a donation in the pot.
To sign up for a curry party and get access to posters, party invitations, donations labels, go to britainsbiggestcurryparty.org On the website there is a dedicated section for schools where there are downloadable poetry posters and fun learning activities all on a curry theme.
- Useful numbers and sites
Kidney Cancer Careline: 0330 111 2333
Mike completed a skydive to raise money for the Piam Brown Ward at Southampton General Hospital. To support him go to justgiving.com/Michael-Lucas2.
Comments are closed on this article.