Like many nine-year-olds around the world, Lucia had a zest for life -- but that all changed in 2015 with a cancer diagnosis. After complaining of headaches and pains in her legs, Lucia’s mother, Maria, took her on a five-hour journey to Hospital de la Niñez Oaxaqueña (HNO). Following an initial examination, medical staff diagnosed Lucia with growing pains. A young child who was tall for her age, Lucia returned home, but her condition continued to worsen.
Over the following three months, Lucia and Maria made several trips back and forth to the hospital, which came at a great expense to the family. A determined mother, Maria could sense her daughter was suffering from more than growing pains. A blood test eventually showed Lucia had developed the most common form of childhood cancer; acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
An early diagnosis could have saved Lucia from ongoing pain and saved her family from being pushed further into poverty through expensive travel and drug costs. Because Lucia and María have to journey several hours from their home village to the hospital, they stay at a family hostel at HNO. With the family having to borrow money to pay for antibiotics, the family hostel is a vital part of the hospital’s infrastructure. World Child Cancer trains healthcare workers in developing countries to recognize the early warning sign of childhood cancer by forming twinning partnerships with healthcare professionals in the developed world. Just $100 could have paid for Lucia to receive an accurate diagnosis.