Meet Seema and Saif

Putting yourself in the shoes of a mother in Bangladesh is hard to imagine, but to put yourself in the position of Seema is even harder. Seema’s son, Saif, was diagnosed with cancer two months ago when he developed a lump in his stomach.

“Saif was such a happy child, always playing and laughing. But when he became unwell it was clear this was no normal illness. He first started to vomit and later we noticed a lump in his stomach. We immediately went to see our local doctor but things were not so simple.”

There is a huge shortage of trained healthcare workers in Bangladesh with even fewer able to care for children with cancer. When Seema took her son to their local healthcare centre the team operated to remove the lump in Saif’s stomach, but the operation was unsuccessful as they did not have the relevant skills to provide Saif with an accurate diagnosis. Seema was paying for treatment that was not helping her child and eventually went elsewhere for help, visiting a further two hospitals before finally being referred to BSMMU which is supported by World Child Cancer.

“It was heart-breaking to be told Saif had a tumor, to hear that your child has cancer was devastating and I immediately began to fear the worst. I have managed to control my emotions more since I was first told, I know I have to be strong for my son – crying will not help and I am determined to be there for Saif.”

Our Gift of Growing Up appeal aims to give children with cancer a faster route to better treatment. Knowledge is power. Through our partnerships with hospitals, we will share knowledge and expertise between doctors and nurses in developed and developing countries to reduce the number of children with cancer who are misdiagnosed or left undiagnosed all together.

Despite living just 30km from BSMMU, Seema and Saif had to take a boat and two buses to reach hospital.

“We took a taxi the first time as Saif was too sick to travel but we can no longer afford such luxuries, we now have to take the boat and bus to reach hospital. I am a housewife and my husband does not earn much, so we have to save enough money to support our family as well as Saif’s treatment.”

All parents have dreams and aspirations of what they want their child to grow up to become. Saif is just two years old but his mother hopes he can grow up to complete his education and fulfill his own ambitions. She prays each morning and night for her son and says her faith has helped to stabilize her mind when she was fearing the worst for Saif.

Saif is one of over 300,000 children who will develop cancer this year and most of them will live in developing countries where as few as one in ten survive compared to over eight in ten in developed countries. With your support we can change this for the better. 

£20 covers the transport costs for a family, like Saif's, living in rural Bangladesh to travel to Dhaka to access the treatment they desperately need. Give before 30th June and your donation will be doubled by the UK government. Match funding from the UK government will support children with cancer in Bangladesh whilst public donations will go towards supporting our other programs in developing countries around the world.

Saif’s route to effective treatment was delayed when local healthcare workers could not provide the care he so desperately needed. By training more healthcare professionals, supporting families through treatment and raising awareness of childhood cancer, we can give more children the opportunity to have a future.

Find out how, with your support, we can help to train more healthcare professionals like Dr Momena.