LOVE 4 LEE
A JOURNEY TO FULL RECOVERY
It was a day in our family life that we would rather try to forget. Just when we thought 2020 could not get any worse, the 7th of December turned up. A few days earlier, Leeanne our youngest daughter (17) had broken out into a strange rash and over the last while had complained of tiredness and had said for a while that a gland in her neck didn't feel right.
Luckily my wife took her to our local general practitioner Dr Alice Powell who immediately sent her off for tests. The results were inconclusive but suspicious enough to suspect cancer. The dreaded call came in from Dr Powell who wanted to see the family immediately. Looking back that day felt surreal. To make matters worse, I am self-employed and due to difficult times a short while prior, we had to cancel medical insurance. Food on the table, water and light, rates and taxes, schooling seemed more important. Never did I for one minute conceive that one of our children would fall desperately ill.
In South Africa, we do have state-funded medical facilities for any citizen without private medical insurance, and luckily in the Western Cape where we live, the facilities are much better than elsewhere in the country.
I said to Dr Powell, as a ballpark figure, how much would treatment cost should it be cancer you think it is? She paused and said three hundred and fifty to four hundred thousand rands ( Approx $27 000) in private care. In a state hospital, it would be more affordable as costs would be based on one's income and affordability.
Another very good friend of the family, Dr Roy Leaver, a retired paediatrician came alongside our family to help advise and steer us through this dilemma. Dr Powell and Dr Leaver wasted no time in getting things moving. We needed to get an accurate, conclusive diagnosis and were turned away from Groote Schuur the largest state-owned academic hospital because of the COVID infections. We were then referred to Victoria Hospital, after six hours of waiting, we finally got to see a physician, and were told to come back the next week for CT scans. On the morning of our appointment, COVID had also become high risk at Victoria hospital and I just could not take Leeanne there knowing see could contract COVID on top of cancer.
That morning I was in a dark hole and thought that as a family we were facing this storm on our own. The night before I received a call from Rayne, Leeanne's boyfriend's mother, who said that Qiyam would like to start a crowdfunding campaign but needed my permission. At first, I thought nothing of it, and in fact, did not want to publically declare that I could not afford health care for my family, but after much thought, I put my pride in my pocket and agreed. In desperation, I also called on a few close friends to ask for donations to allow us to at least get the CAT scans and the operation for a tissue biopsy done at Constantiaberg private hospital where the risk of COVID was much lower.
Incredibly, within a day sufficient donations had come in and were able to get started, the plan was to do all the necessary pre-treatment analysis at Constantiaberg and then approach the Oncologogly unit at Groote Schuur for assistance thereafter. Even the surgeon, Dr Hampton discounted his rates to help us make this happen.
Leeanne was admitted to Constiaberg for the scans and the operation and a few days later it was confirmed that she had Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a blood cancer that attacks the immune system of the body.
Donations continued to come in unabatedly.
We could only get an appointment at Groote Schuur after Christmas, so we decided to consult with Dr du Toit the resident Hematologist at Constantiaberg on his advice for treatment. The severity of the condition hit home as he said the cancer was at stage three. He said that although the state facility was outstanding the start of treatment would be delayed to mid-January or maybe even later. He also said that she would need a port placed into her chest that would allow the medicine to directed directly into her heart. He checked with the surgeon Dr Hampton who had carried out the original procedure and space had become available in theatre for the next day and Dr Hampton agreed to do the procedure, again at a discounted rate to assist us.
At this point, due to the unbelievable generosity of friends and public, we had sufficient funds to go ahead with a bone marrow biopsy the operation and her first treatment of twelve chemo sessions spread over six months.
What a day at the hospital starting at six in the morning and getting home at nine at night. Lee was so brave and we just knew we had taken the right decision.
Leeanne's journey to full recovery has now begun. She is back at home for Christmas and will be resuming treatment on the 7th of January 2021. On behalf of my family, and Qiyam, we cannot express my gratitude enough to every single person who has helped us this far, financially, from the $1 donation to generous blessings we have received, empathy, encouragement and kind words and most importantly prayer.
We are overwhelmed with emotion and eternally grateful. God bless you all!!!
STARTED AND MANAGED BY QIYAM TAJ | ADMINSTRATED BY FAMILY FRIEND KAREL SMIT
Hi, I'm Qiyam, recently my girlfriend who is also 17 has been diagnosed with Stage 3 Lymphatic cancer, this is a type of cancer that attacks the immune system and can quickly spread other areas of the body.
Doctors are concerned about three areas in her body already, those being her upper chest (close to her neck), her lungs and her stomach. There is also a chance it might be in her bone marrow.
Unfortunately, Lee's family cannot afford the urgent treatment that she desperately needs right now. The overcrowded state hospitals present a high risk of contracting COVID 19, which is a major concern because of her condition. Our goal is to raise $27000 to cover the complete treatment in private care.
Lee is the love of my life, my home and my safe-space. I could never imagine my life without her.
Throughout this trying time, she has been more concerned about others well being than worrying about herself.
Lee is not only an amazing musician but more importantly the most loving, kindest, genuine and caring person I have ever met in my life. If you would like to hear her sing a video has been posted at the bottom.
All we want is to be able to help her through this illness and get her the treatment that she most desperately needs.
The donations will go towards...
Six months of chemotherapy
So far due to the amazing generosity, we have been able to get all the surgery done and we have just completed the second treatment of twelve, we are truly grateful.
Please help us help Lee.
Qiyam & the Osner Family
We have also opened an FNB account for local donations:
FIRST NATIONAL BANK | MARTIN OSNER | ACC # 6287 1043 130 | REFERENCE LOVE 4 LEE
BRANCH CODE 250655 | CHEQUE ACC | EMAIL email@example.com.
GO GET FUNDING CAMPAIGN
For more information or to book please visited www.learn-photography.net
23 December 2020 | Long day at the hospital. Thank you to everyone who helped us to get started so quickly. Leeanne has just received her first chemotherapy.
We would first like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed and to everyone who has shared this page.
On the 23rd of December Lee had a bone marrow biopsy done to check if cancer has spread. After that she had an operation in which a port was installed that will be used for her chemotherapy, after her operation, they did some double-checking and once they were happy that the port was successfully implanted, they did her first round of chemotherapy! It was a really long and gruelling day, she was exhausted when we got home but we are all really happy that we have been able to start treating her.
We wouldn't have been able to accomplish any of this without the support of all of you, we are truly grateful,
Our warmest regards from the Osner family, Lee and me, Qiyam.
30 December 2020 | Blood tests were done today.
Hi everyone, just a quick update, today is a week since Leeanne received her first treatment. We went back to the hospital this morning so that they could check her blood. The good news is that her blood test is all good and she will be back next week Friday the 7th of January for her second treatment. Thanks again to everyone who has helped to make this happen. We are so grateful for your compassion. May you have a wonderful 2021 as we leave 2020 far behind.
Thanks again everyone for your concern, love and support! Leeanne blood results allowed her doctors to continue with the treatment today. Lee has been battling to get rid of a really itchy skin rash which could be caused by one of many things, either the illness itself or medication or the treatment. So today, its new soaps & creams, a change of medication, so DisChem, the chemist can close early for the day as they have made their budget 😂. After half a day at the hospital, we are finally done and on our way home. Could not have done this without every one of our loving donors. We are so grateful! Thank you so much
08 January 2020 | Round two is now behind us.