Tasha loses her battle

2012-11-09 00:00

TASHA Lucas, the 10-month-old girl from Empangeni who was suffering from acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), died on Tuesday after fighting the disease for six months.

Her parents, Warren and Isabel, took the decision on Monday to stop the use of life support after she had slipped into a coma early that morning at the Albert Luthuli Hospital in Durban.

The cancer, which had gone into remission, reappeared. Furthermore, she was suffering from meningitis.

Warren said the decision was taken on trusted medical advice.

“We had prepared ourselves for her passing, but no matter how much preparation is taken, a decision like this is so hard to make.”

Tasha was diagnosed with AML when she was four months old. Her only hope of survival rested on a bone marrow transplant, with a one in 100 000 chance of a likely match being found, according to the Sunflower Foundation, a non-profit organisation that collects and assists with bone marrow transplants.

During Tasha’s time at the hospital, seven other child cancer sufferers died in the ward.

“On Tuesday, we cut off communication after being inundated with calls, but now we are speaking to people daily and it is helping us come to terms with what we have been through,” said Warren.

He said it had been an emotional period with numerous drives by the local community to find a match. “In the last testing period we found 10 near possible candidates, but these would still need to be sent off for analysis. However, we needed to finally make a decision.

“We had also learnt that the type of chemotherapy she would have had to endure was no longer available. We had been told that it was likely she would suffer and have a poor quality of life.”

Warren said their two other children, Ruan (13) and Megan (7), had been remarkably strong.

“We are planning to get away as a family soon and spend some time together, relaxing, crying and remembering our daughter and sibling,” said Warren.

He said the Sunflower Foundation had been “remarkable” and if he ever had to give to a charity, it would be them.

“They were so welcoming and supportive. They took us in and were with us all the way.”

He thanked his church and others for their prayers and the “phenomenal” support his family received.

An open memorial service will be held at AGS Lighuis Church in Louis Botha Avenue, Empangeni, at 11 am tomorrow.

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