Young Mihla Engelbrecht is in remission and looking forward to “big school”. . .
Over the past two years, the six-year-old has battled a rare children’s cancer called cerebral neuroblastoma, which is a form of brain cancer.
YOU reported nearly two years ago on the former Rustenburg child being in a life-and death struggle with the disease.
But Mihla’s mother, Shani, says her only child’s health is much improved these days.
“Little Mihla is doing well. She’s lively and making jokes. She’s six years old now and very excited about going to Grade 1,” Shani told YOU.
Last year Mihla went to America to undergo immunotherapy, which is an advanced treatment for her type of cancer. The disease went into remission late last year and the family are optimistic that this will maintain.
"When we heard she’s gone into remission I felt as if I was standing on a mountain looking back on the past two and a half years. We’ve survived – but the countryside looked torn apart by a tornado. Everything broken, in disarray and hurt, but now at last we’ve reached the top of the mountain. Now things can go back to normal.
“We’re relieved that the treatment is over. It was a tough year. In three months’ time Mihla will have a brain scan and various blood tests to keep a check on her,” Shani says.
During the holidays the family relocated to North West – but Shani doesn’t want to elaborate because she and her husband Rudo would like to make a fresh start, she says.
“Rudo and I want her to be just an ordinary Grade 1 girl.”
And Mihla can’t wait for her first school day.
“Every night she prays and says ‘Thank you dear Jesus that I may go to such a good big school’.”
“For her sixth birthday we got her hair extensions because her hair fell out after chemotherapy and it’s still short. She looks at herself in the mirror constantly – so precious,” Shani tells us.
The family is grateful to have 2019 over and done with.
“Mihla has come to teach us how precious time is, and she’s filling our lives with so much gratitude and joy. She’s passionate and has empathy with other sick young children.”
Shani says the family is also deeply grateful for schools and preschools around the country that have fundraised for Mihla’s treatment. Coin-layings were also held at the schools.
“Every cent made a difference,” she says. The fundraising and coin layings that were organised, dubbed Day of Change, are continuing to help other sick children to have access to treatment.
“The slogan is ‘small change, big difference’. We’ve seen proof that these coins are making an enormous difference. In 2020 we’ll be helping a little girl with cystic fibrosis,” she says.
Shani says Mihla drew inspiration from the many “angels” that crossed her path in hospitals.
“She always wanted to be a doctor, but now she’s decided she wants to be a nurse so she can care for little children all day.”