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Patient’s family extend the gift of generosity

On the day a young person celebrates the end of their cancer treatment, giving to others might seem a distant priority. Not for the family of Satwat, a recent long-term patient of Monash Children’s Hospital Cancer Centre.

Satwat was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma in 2019 and she spent the last 18 months in and out of the hospital, including a time in intensive care.

Satwat’s mother Azmat explained that the treatment was very hard for her daughter and the family.

“It was difficult for Satwat. She had severe side effects from the treatment,” Azmat said.

“Her initial diagnosis was very shocking – turning our lives upside down. Prior to some pain in her rib, she was a very healthy girl. You just can’t imagine something like this happening,” she said.

“The whole team provided wonderful care across the board. It is really appreciated. We are very grateful.”

Dr Peter Downie is Director of the Children’s Cancer Centre and oversaw Satwat’s care. Peter continues the story.

“Last month it was Satwat’s birthday and also the end of her treatment. Her health is restored so she rang the traditional ‘end of treatment’ bell on the balcony of the Children’s Cancer Centre,” Peter said.

Satwat’s family took a delightful approach to the milestone.

“Satwat has really weathered the storm of her life-threatening illness. So, instead of us celebrating her birthday, her family has brought in presents and gifts for the children who are on treatment still. They have also donated envelopes with $50 gift vouchers in them for other families who are doing it hard,” Peter said.

“Satwat gave us a card of thanks to the team, with lovely words for us. But it is the family’s generosity to the other families that’s so heart-warming,” he said.

“This is a story of hope, inclusion and love; it cuts across boundaries of society and makes us remember how simple humanity can be for us all. In these difficult times of social upheaval, restrictions and anxiety, sometimes if we stop and take a breather, we can see how out of adversity comes an uplifting act; the silver lining that is hiding but shining there if we look for it.”