Real-life cancer survivor stories
When you hear the word âpovertyâ, you probably donât think of cancer. HIV and AIDS, malaria, malnutrition and diarrhoeal diseases are likely to be the first ones to cross your mind, but not cancer.
Cancer is a disease that has undoubtedly impacted every one of us in some way, whether weâve battled it, or weâve known someone who has fought that fight.
But when cancer strikes children in poverty, they not only face the fear we can all relate to, they also encounter the fact that treatment is likely to be out of financial reach. Cancer medicines are simply unaffordable. Even if they can pay for treatment, the nearest treatment centre is often hours away.
But today, on World Cancer Day, we want to share seven powerful stories of child cancer survivors. Theyâve been supported by Compassion and our child sponsorship programme. Weâve been privileged to be part of their cancer survivor testimonies.
Let these kidsâ personal stories of surviving cancer make your day:
From incurable cancer to survivor
The doctorâs diagnosis was bad. Emilia, aged ten, might not survive: she feared she had incurable cancer. Diagnosed with leukaemia in 2015, the young girl from Ecuador, says, âI felt like the entire world crashed down on me. I wouldnât wish this on anyone.â As her condition worsened, she was rushed into intensive care, where she and her mum prayed earnestly to the Lord. Within days, Emilia surprised her doctors and began to get better. Six months later, she was cancer free!
Thanks to her sponsor and the Compassion programme, Emilia received critical resources such as medicine, clothing and food. Today, Emilia is a joyful, loving girl from Ecuador and she credits her recovery to Godâs faithfulness.
Moving real life story of a Kenyan cancer survivor
When Mackline started to experience stomach pains, her mother Rael was grief-stricken. Cancer stories were already a tragic reality for their family: Rael had previously lost one daughter to cancer. And her worst fears were realised when Mackline was diagnosed with liver cancer.
But this time, Rael and her husband didn't have to bear the burden alone. Since her sister's death, Mackline had been registered into the Compassion sponsorship programme in Kenya.
The team from Mackline's project and members from the church surrounded the family with love and support. They prayed, fasted, visited and encouraged. They wept alongside Rael, Sameson and their children.
Mackline bravely went through session upon session of chemotherapy. To the surprise of her doctors, she responded remarkably well, quickly regaining strength.
Macklineâs early diagnosis saved her life. Today her real-life story is a powerful one. The young girl is in fifth grade, studying hard and growing into a confident young woman. She is astutely aware of the importance of access to medical treatment: "I have been blessed to be a blessing," Mackline comments with a smile. âI want to become a doctor when I grow up so that I can also use my education and training to help people triumph over disease."
A cancer patient story from Nicaragua
Francis was seven years old when she was diagnosed with cancer. After months of treatment for routine kidney stones with no improvement, an ultrasound at a hospital in Nicaragua revealed a kidney tumour. Francis' battle with cancer was long and challenging. But after rounds of chemotherapy, the test results came back clear.
Francis' mum, DĂĄmaris, testifies, "God's blessings came from everywhere; the project, my church and other churches around. I got on my knees anywhere in the hospital and cried out to God in mercy. I fought in the name of Jesus. It was hard but good things happened. My husband came to Christ through this situation and now we are all serving God together. I praise God and give Him the glory, because we need to learn to thank Him in the tribulation too, not only in the good times."
Now in remission, Francis has been given back her childhood. Reflecting on her illness, she gives God the glory.
With God's help and the doctors help, I no longer have cancer. I thank God. My sponsor tells me that I'm God's miracle and that He has me here for a purpose. I thank God for letting me live.
When a young baby battles cancer
Baby Madelineâs first year hasnât been easy, but mum Veidi Garcia is thankful for the support of the Compassion programme.
At only a few days old, the doctors realised that Madeline was unable to open her left eye. Tests and analysis revealed a tumour which led to chemotherapy and surgery. Veidi Garcia says, âEvery three weeks, we had to travel to Santo Domingo and that was very expensive. The [Compassion] programme helped with the transportation costs to the hospital, they covered some of the medical costs and also my daughterâs blood transfusion.â
Today, Madeline has a prosthetic eye, but sheâs healthy. Her mother says of the ten-month-old, âShe is just happy and cares more about having fun!â
Beating chemotherapy: a cancer story from Honduras
Daniela is from Honduras. She loves to draw and skip. But when she was seven years old, Daniele fell ill with severe pain in her legs and feet.
After a trip to the hospital, the little girlâs condition grew worse and she was transported to a larger hospital three hours away where she was diagnosed with an immunological disease Wegenerâs Granuomatosis and liver cancer. Fortunately, Danielaâs Compassion project helped the family by covering much of her treatment, tests, medication and transport.
Today, you wouldnât know that Daniela had endured several months of chemotherapy. Her overcoming cancer story is inspiring. She is a bright, happy girl with a big smile.
When I grow up, I would like to become a doctor and help other people!
Remarkable cancer support in Bolivia
In 2012, 10-year-old Bolivian schoolboy, Luis, started to have fierce pain and itching in his left eye. His mother Jimena says, âWe discovered the tumour because I took him to the doctor [who] said, âThis eye is useless.ââ Jimena couldnât afford surgery, so the Compassion project stepped in, providing everything the family needed. Luis and his mother went everywhere with the project staff because Jimena couldnât read or write, and Luis was able to receive the surgery with a private doctor. His eye was removed and he received a prosthetic eye and glasses.
Luis loves football and having only one eye hasnât help him back â heâs the best football player in his school!
Luisâ mother is thankful for his sponsorâs support: âThey are like a father and a mother.â
Overcoming cancer in Colombia
In Colombia, the numbers of childhood cancer cases are alarming. Each year, about 2,200 new cases appear. Pilar never thought her son would be one of the statistics. But when Bratner was six, he started to experience pain in his right leg. As the days passed, the pain grew constant and he was having difficulty walking. Bratner was diagnosed with malignant osteosarcoma, a cancer that pervaded his entire leg.
It was a life and death decision: allow her sonâs leg to be amputated, knowing that this would change his whole life, or try to fight the disease with treatment and risk the cancer spreading and becoming fatal. Pilar decided for her child's life, and Bratner's leg was amputated.
Toda, Bratner is a smart, friendly and outgoing 12-year-old â and he has even learned to play football with his prosthetic leg. Bratner loves to attend his Compassion project, where he finds friendship and kindness in the staff and other children.
Pilar is thankful to the project staff for providing affection, support and help to her son. "I thank you very much to the project. I am so grateful because of their help and support. I cannot imagine our lives without them."
Each of these cancer stories tells a tale of hope and support as each child received vital medication, support and care from their child sponsorÂ and our RESPOND FundÂ to carry them through their diagnosis and treatment. Maybe you have your own moving cancer story or perhaps youâd like to share these uplifting stories to encourage a friend?