Farid, a much loved first child for parents Ahmed and Sherine, was born on 28th November 2011. Farid is a big football fan but also likes computer games – especially Pac Man.
Farid was a happy and thriving baby; Ahmed and Sherine celebrated every milestone with him and were always amazed by his appetite! He was a healthy toddler and would choose carrots and cucumber over anything else.
At 3 years old, Farid began to have regular temperatures but he’d take paracetamol and they’d go away. He was still a happy and sociable little boy; he made friends easily and welcomed his new baby sister into the world.
Some months later as Farid and his family were settling in to their new life in Sunderland, Farid became unwell with vomiting, which was initially put down to the amount of bell peppers and vegetables he’d eaten. When Sherine lifted him the following day she recalls, “I felt a small lump with my fingertips on Farid’s left side and it was moving.”
Ahmed and Sherine were worried although initially thought he had an infection or something wrong with his lymph nodes. They contacted their GP who said it was nothing to worry about because it was moving and that it could be an infection. The next day Farid felt fine so went back to nursery but Ahmed noticed that he was having difficulty walking normally.
That same evening they knew something was really wrong when Farid was unable to move from his chair to go to the toilet. Farid knew too and told his Dad he wanted a doctor. Ahmed called an ambulance; when it arrived Farid was vomiting. The family were rushed to their local hospital in Sunderland where they did an ultrasound and blood tests, which showed that Farid was anaemic.
At the hospital, Sherine and Ahmed were given the devastating news that Farid had a big mass on his abdomen – it was 20cm x 11cm. “We were in total shock” says Sherine, “We knew something was wrong but never expected this. It’s not something you think about as a parent. The medical team showed me how to use my hands to feel Farid’s abdomen and I could feel the mass. It was heart-breaking.”
When the family were referred to Newcastle, doctors confirmed that the mass in Farid’s abdomen was cancer, and likely a Wilms tumour which would necessitate Farid losing a kidney.
Over the next 2 weeks further scans and tests followed revealing that Farid didn’t have a Wilms tumour but in fact had Stage 3, high risk neuroblastoma which had a 50% chance of survival.
Neuroblastoma is a particularly aggressive form of childhood cancer and the most common cancer outside the brain in children under 5 years old. In most cases it is only diagnosed when it has already progressed to a late ‘high risk’ stage, like with Farid.
Following Farid’s diagnosis everything changed for the family and Ahmed’s mother flew to England to take care of his baby sister. Farid has been in hospital for many weeks now and is so far tolerating the treatment and showing a good response to therapy. His recent surgery was very successful but more intensive therapy is required until doctors can assess how successful the treatment has been.
High risk neuroblastoma has a very real risk of relapse, the treatment for which is particularly challenging. Ahmed and Sherine want to be prepared for the future if Farid were to relapse so are fundraising for Solving Kids’ Cancer for Farid and children like him. The funds raised will go towards any additional treatment Farid has abroad, which may not yet be available in the UK. By supporting Farid’s Journey, you can help ensure that every possible treatment option is open to Farid should he need it, whether at home or abroad.
Ahmed and Sherine say, “Thank you for your support, it means so much to us and we are very grateful.”
To make a donation to Farid’s Journey visit: campaign.justgiving.com/charity/solvingkidscancer/faridelshahawy
To donate via your mobile phone text FAEL88 and your amount £1 – £10 to 70070.
If you’d like to fundraise for Farid, contact the fundraising team at Solving Kids’ Cancer on 0207 284 0800 | firstname.lastname@example.org