"Our daughter had advanced neuroblastoma. This hospital saved her life"
The family of Ania, a 2-year-old Polish girl, explains their experience at SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital.
In October 2020, Ania's parents noticed that something was wrong with their 14-month-old daughter: she was not walking, had dark circles under her eyes and a very swollen stomach. Doctors in Poland did not consider the symptoms to be out of the ordinary, but by February 2021 the child's condition had worsened and she now had breathing problems, so they decided to admit her to hospital.
Doctors diagnosed her with stage IV neuroblastoma. She had a tumour in her adrenal gland and another large paravertebral tumour. She was also diagnosed with bone, bone marrow and lymph node metastases. Ania was treated with chemotherapy in her home country, but follow-up tests revealed that the chemotherapy had not worked. After talking to the parents of other children with cancer, the family felt that the treatment was very aggressive and the mortality rate during treatment was very high, whilst the chance of remission was very low.
"We did not want to put our daughter's life at risk, so we decided to look for a potentially safer and more effective treatment abroad", says Ania's family.
After evaluating different options, they contacted the Oncology Area at SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital. In July 2021 they had a video call with Dr. Jaume Mora and after that conversation they realised there was no time to lose. In just a few hours they made the necessary arrangements, and the next day Ania and her father flew to Barcelona. During the first week at the hospital, Ania underwent a series of tests. When the results came back, Dr. Mora explained that the initial diagnosis was wrong and that the little girl did not have metastasis. The tumour was not in the lung, but rather behind it, attached to the spine.
With an accurate diagnosis, Ania had two surgeries and several rounds of chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiotherapy and proton therapy. The little girl responded to the treatment as expected and she is now in complete remission.
Ania and her family spent ten months in Barcelona and are very satisfied with the care they received at the Hospital. The family is very pleased that Ania only spent nine nights in hospital and the rest of the time she was able to be with her parents and brother.
"We were able to stay with Ania at the hospital while she was having her treatments. This made the whole process more bearable. The doctors and nurses at SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital are pure empathy; they are true professionals and the families know that our children are in good hands. Thank you for saving our daughter's life. We will be forever grateful to you".