Fewer than 100 children in the UK are diagnosed each year with neuroblastoma. Most children who get this cancer are younger than five years old. Neuroblastoma is the second most common solid tumour in childhood, and it makes up 8% of the total number of children’s cancers. – Macmillan
Neuroblastoma, a rare cancer, mostly affects young children. The cancer develops from nerve cells called neuroblasts. The cells are found in a chain-like form, running down the back of the chest and stomach. Neuroblastoma can even occur before birth. The cause remains unknown.
In many cases, neuroblastoma is observed to first develop in the adrenal glands (glands above the kidneys); this further spreads to other areas for example the bones, liver and skin. There are very rare cases where children from the same family are affected, but it is not generally hereditary.
The prognosis for neuroblastoma is generally better in children in their younger years and if the cancer is confined to one site.
Treatment primarily depends on the stage of the cancer; chemotherapy is usually given to shrink the tumour before it is surgically removed, followed in some cases by radiotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells.
In 2014, Kaitlyn was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. At 3 years of age, Kaitlyn had a limp but was overall active. Because of her active and healthy nature, the doctors did not suspect anything out of ordinary on her regular visits to the GP. Initial symptoms for neuroblastoma are very common for example, aches and pains, loss of appetite or energy. This further proves as a challenge in diagnosing the cancer at an early stage and treating it adequately.
Kaitlyn’s father comments regarding her health: “On the 18/11/2014 her mother recognised that Kaitlyn was not moving her arms and her eyes seem unfocused, Kaitlyn was rushed into emergency surgery as the MRI scan revealed that the cancerous lump in her in head was bleeding and affecting her brain function. The surgeons told her that she may not make it and her heart may stop because this was going to be a major surgery and for a little baby she may not come out of it. However six hours after, Kaitlyn was up and telling the doctors and nurses that they should not touch her and that she was hungry”.
Kaitlyn underwent surgery and is making a successful recovery by the day. To cheer Kaitlyn up, her mum wanted to do something nice for her room and contacted MK Kids Interiors a children’s interior design company launched in 2012. The company were touched and moved by Kaitlyn’s story and decided to do the project, on the house, using donations made for Kaitlyn’s family.
Over £1000 was raised to cover the cost of the re-design, £200 of which was donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
(check out more photos of Kaitlyn’s room make over in the gallery)
The Creative director of MK Kids Interiors, Medina Sam, a graduate of the renowned University of Arts London where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Interior Design, is a compassionate individual who feels strongly about empowering children from diverse backgrounds and allowing them to design their own personal space.
26 years old, Medina Sam is now running MK Kids Interiors, launched with the help of The Princes Trust mentorship programme. As a young black woman in business, Medina is determined to make a difference by showing that neither race nor gender should hold anyone back from following his or her dreams. The companies ethos is to develop children’s creative skills through art, designing nurseries, bedrooms and playrooms for little children (0 years+) with bespoke packages for older kids.
Kaitlyn’s room redecoration was also made possible with the support of other organisations including The Coopers’ Company and Coborn School, Ealing Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team, QA Limited and Hyland House School.
The room’s transformation in to a little girl’s dream bedroom includes a luscious pink décor littered with butterflies and other personalised touches.