In early 2017, Dzan’s mother Maja knew something was not right.
“Call it mother’s intuition,” Maja says softly.
You see, Maja had recognised her sports-mad eight year old son, “just wasn’t himself”. He wasn’t throwing himself into soccer like he used to, and “his tennis coach commented that he wasn’t running like before…”
“Then my husband, a GP, noticed Dzan’s lymph nodes on one side of his neck were enlarged, but put it down to a virus.”
As you may have guessed, it wasn’t a virus.
Maja explains how her heart plummeted when she looked at Dzan’s neck that morning. “I noticed some bruises and I remember thinking, this looks like lymphoma – but of course, I didn’t say this out loud.”
Maja asked her husband, Almir, to order blood tests at his clinic. Within hours the phone rang and the pathologist told Maja to rush Dzan immediately to hospital.
Dzan and his parents stayed at Fight Cancer Foundation's Melbourne accommodation centre while he received treatment.
Maja pauses, then bravely shares, “This is where I entered into a state of disbelief. For the next few months, we couldn’t believe what we were hearing. Almir asked the doctors to double check the results.”
Confronted by their son’s shock diagnosis, and the fear of what lay ahead for their only child, Maja and Almir also had to worry about finding accommodation. The family needed accommodation close to the hospital so they could stay by their little boy’s side as he began the fight for his life.
This is why our work at Fight Cancer Foundation is so important. Cancer impacts every aspect of a young family’s life and we see firsthand the emotional and financial toll it takes. For families who must travel to access lifesaving treatment, accommodation close to hospital is vital.
Before receiving accommodation support from Fight Cancer Foundation, Maja and Almir contemplated selling the family home. You see, Dzan’s treatment took nearly 12 months. With neither parent working and the bills mounting, Dzan’s parents felt despair.
In their moment of need, Fight Cancer Foundation was able to offer Maja, Almir and Dzan comfortable accommodation. It is only with your support that we can continue to provide families like Dzan’s with much-needed accommodation.
“When we were offered accommodation at Fight Cancer Foundation, it was like a big weight was lifted from our shoulders. After living in a small motel room, then walking into a two bedroom apartment, not having to bring anything was such a godsend.”
Dzan was diagnosed with the rarest form of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Maja says, “After one month, Dzan’s doctor came to talk about the lack of progress on beating the disease. I could see the concern on the doctor’s face. ‘His results show little impact on the cancer, and he is now considered high risk.’” In other words, Dzan’s leukaemia was resistant to the chemotherapy he had been receiving.