Alexia van der Venter was born on the 6th of Aug 2009. My sister’s 2nd daughter. Our lives changed drastically on the 23rd of March 2011. This was the day she was diagnosed with a very high risk T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. Our beautiful baby girl Alexia was sick! CANCER!!! The scariest word we have ever heard.
Alexia and my sister Jacqui were rushed by ambulance (from Mosselbay) to Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Rondebosch. She was admitted to the Oncology Unit and Chemotherapy started the next day.
She underwent intense chemo, getting lumber punches, having bone marrow extractions and IV treatment for days on end. She was also on steroids and oral meds.
After 28 days she should have been in remission…. She wasn’t. After a further 14 days of intense chemo she was in remission. Praise the Lord!!
Then the bombshell was dropped. Due to the fact that she took longer than required to go into remission, her doctor, Professor Alan Davidson, said she has to have a bone marrow transplant. Why??? She is in remission….
Because she took so long to go into remission the chances of the cancer coming back after the treatment is completed is great. A bone marrow transplant can only be done while she is in remission. If she relapses before receiving a bone marrow transplant she might not go into remission again.
The 4 potential matches on the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) were tested but they are not 100 % compatible. They are now looking abroad as there are 15 potential donors. To date no compatible donor has been found.
We spent 5 months in & out of Red Cross Children’s Hospital. We have just spent 2 wonderful months at home. On Sunday, 11th Sept, we returned to Cape Town and intense chemo started on the 12th. Alexia, is currently still in Red Cross Hospital and is very sick. Her fever reaches up to 38.9 degrees and she is refusing to eat. The Chemo she is currently on is referred to as “ The Red Devil” as it is known for making patients very ill.
She is such a fighter and an immense joy in our lives. We cannot begin to imagine our lives without her. God bless everyone who has her in their prayers and everyone who is pulling together to help save Lexi!