'R6 million to save our daughter': Time is running out for little Imke

By Joanie Bergh
10 June 2016

Three-year-old Imke's parents have to raise the eye-watering sum by the end of the month to save their little girl.

Imke Geldenhuys's parents, from Tzaneen, have to raise R6 million by the end of the month to save their daughter's life.

Imke (3) was diagnosed with neuroblastoma , a high-risk cancer which is difficult to diagnose and which affects only 1 in every 600 children in the world. The cancer grows mainly on the adrenal glands of children, mostly younger than five-years-old, and then spreads to the rest of their tissue.

Only 5% of children with this kind of growth develop full blown neuroblastoma cancer. Therefore only 150 children out of every 1 million suffer from this disease.

On the 17 February Imke was admitted to the Unitas Hospital in Pretoria where she underwent chemotherapy and was placed in isolation. That same day her mother, Ilona Geldenhuys (31), gave birth to her and her husband Darius’s twin daughters Zielke and Anebelle.

Read more: Mom of terminally-ill six-year-old overwhelmed by kindness of strangers

Imke underwent surgery on 6 June to remove the cancer but the aggressive disease had already spread to her spinal cord. During the operation doctors only managed to remove 80% of the cancerous growth.

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Local doctors told Ilona and Darius that, because the cancer has spread so far throughout her body, there are not many treatment options available in South Africa which can save her.

“South Africa has some of the best oncologist specialists in the world. But Imke now needs hemotherapy for phase 4 cancer to completely remove the last cancer cells that are still in her body,” explains Darius.

“This treatment is unfortunately not available in South Africa

“Australia is one of the countries where this treatment has been tested and has been very successful for cancer sufferers.”

Read more: Mother breaks her own daughter’s leg over 300 times to avoid amputation

“Imke has been in a lot of pain since the operation. They give her morphine to help her handle it and for the next four days she can’t drink or eat anything,” said Darius while standing next to Imke in ICU.

“Ilona and I are not losing hope. It is very difficult for us, but we believe that God will carry us through this.”

If 25 000 people each donate R200, then little Imke’s life can be saved.

Generous and kind souls have already helped the family raise 1.5 million rand.

But the clock is ticking.

If you’d like to help, contact Darius on DariusIlona@gmail.com

Follow Imke’s progress on Facebook at Prayers 4 Imke

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