“You never forget the day you hear your child has cancer.”
For Adeel’s mother, Rukayya, that day came in July, 2009 as she watched her six year old son in hospital.
When first diagnosed, Adeel was treated at Sick Kids often needing to stay for long stretches of time.
“I would often wake up from a nightmare where Adeel was in the hospital battling cancer, only to wake up at the hospital by my son’s bedside. That’s when it would hit me that it wasn’t a nightmare but real; those were the toughest days,” she says. For 35 days, Rukayya never left her son’s side while other family members helped take care of Adeel’s brother, Hassan, who was just three at the time. Her husband would drive back and forth from Mississauga, bringing young Hassan to the hospital to see his mother.
When Adeel started receiving treatment at The Credit Valley Hospital in February of 2010, it made a world of difference. Today, with the hospital just five minutes from home, Adeel can have his bi-weekly “finger poke” (blood work) done before his bus comes to take him to school in the morning. Much to Adeel’s disappointment, he doesn’t need to miss much school these days.
When he does visit the hospital, Adeel immediately looks for nurse Anna who lets him choose which finger she gets to poke. “It doesn’t hurt,” Adeel says with a big smile. He is clearly a brave young boy who understands he is sick, but doesn’t understand the magnitude of his illness. Instead he tells you about his friend Martha, his child life specialist, who plays games with him while he is receiving his treatment, letting him just be a kid.
When asked how she feels when walking into the front doors of Credit Valley, Rukayya immediately says “safe”. “I feel that Adeel is in the best hands receiving the best care. And it’s not just Adeel that gets taken care of; I feel that the staff at Credit Valley looks after all of us, the whole family. There’s a lot of comfort when you’re scared for your child and the staff caring for him understand how you feel. We never need to tell the staff what we are thinking or what we need because they just know.”
When asked what his favourite part of the hospital is, Adeel will tell you right away it’s the treasure chest where he gets to pick any toy he wants. And these days that would be the colourful balls that he is collecting until he has them all. Adeel knows that he gets to choose from the treasure chest after every “finger poke” and chemotherapy treatment. And like any six year old, Adeel just wants to play ball with his younger brother.
Thanks to you:
Adeel is able to receive the care he needs close to home and his family all feel they are in great hands. There are still days of worry with another year of treatment ahead of them but for today, they are grateful that the staff at Credit Valley are here for them. It is because of your gifts to the hospital that families like Adeel’s can get care when they need it, right in their community.