Ruwayda Adams and her son Rehaaz, who was diagnosed with cancer in May.
Ruwayda Adams and her son Rehaaz, who was diagnosed with cancer in May.

Toddler fights rare tumours

By Keagan Mitchell Time of article published Sep 12, 2020

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THE only thing she heard at that moment was that her child was going to die.

This was what went through the mind of Ruwayda Adams when she received the devastating news about her son’s health.

Rehaaz, who is 23 months old, was diagnosed on May 22 with hepatoblastoma cancer, a rare tumour that originates in cells in the liver.

On May 12, Ruwayda, took him to the local clinic as he started to develop an unusual hardening of his stomach. The initial prognosis was that Rehaaz may be constipated or have a hernia.

However, Ruwayda was not convinced as his stomach was still hardening. A concerned nurse contacted Tygerberg Hospital and the doctor advised that they should bring him in immediately.

The doctor sent the Elsies River infant for an X-ray of the abdomen and a MRI scan. An hour later, two doctors approached Ruwayda with the news that her son has two tumours on his liver and they were cancerous. One was as big as an orange. This brought back memories of Ruwayda’s parents, who both died from cancer.

“All I heard at that moment was that my son was going to die. When they admitted my son to the paediatric oncology ward I was overwhelmed with sadness. I told my husband to come and spend the night here.

“When I got home my sisters were there. We spent the whole night crying and talking about how we never expected something like this. However, my eldest sister was quick to remind me that God will test us on Earth.”

Since then, Rehaaz has been on chemotherapy, at least three cycles over two weeks. On August 31, he had an operation to remove the cancerous tumours and was discharged this week. He will continue chemotherapy.

“He needs two more chemotherapy cycles and another MRI scan to see if it’s gone. Rehaaz has always been a friendly child who likes to be the centre of attention,” said Ruwayda.

She thanked the staff in the paediatric oncology ward at Tygerberg Hospital. “The kindness they have shown to us is amazing. Please keep my baby and those who are suffering from cancer and other diseases in your prayers.”

Cansa’s Tough Living with Cancer Western Cape co-ordinator, Anthea-Lynn Lewis, said she got to know Rehaaz in the paediatric oncology ward at Tygerberg Hospital. “He’s energetic and playful. The operation didn’t get him down and neither will cancer.”

*As we mark Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Weekend Argus will feature children battling with the disease.

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