Young children fighting neuroblastoma, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Young children fighting neuroblastoma

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Parents of two Malaysian children raise funds for neuroblastoma treatment

At 10 months old, Caelyn Lee was diagnosed with cancer.

Now, just over a year old, the Malaysian toddler has gone through six cycles of chemotherapy for her Stage L2 intermediate-risk neuroblastoma.

Her father, Singapore permanent resident Lee Wai Lun, 30, said: "At first, we kept questioning why Caelyn had to go through this, as she is still so young. But we had to try to accept it."

Neuroblastoma is an early childhood cancer that usually hits kids below five, said Dr Soh Shui Yen, a senior consultant of haematology and oncology service at KK Women's and Children's Hospital.

The cure rate for high-risk neuroblastoma is around 40 per cent to 50 per cent, Dr Soh added.

Caelyn will have surgery to remove tumours from her abdomen tomorrow at the Surgery Centre for Children at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre.

Mr Lee, a car salesman, said the procedure will cost between $120,000 and $150,000.

"We don't have enough money. We had to sell some of our valuables," he said.

Malaysian parents Ban Kar Hoong, 35, and Tan Mooi Mooi, 34, have also brought their two-year-old son Jayden, who suffers from Stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma cancer, to Singapore for treatment.

Madam Tan, an engineer, said: "(In January) Jayden started limping and complaining about pain in his legs. He was constantly running a high fever and had to be on high dosages of antibiotics.

"We were in shock after his diagnosis because we never expected our son to have cancer at such a young age.

Jayden has gone through three rounds of chemotherapy at Gleneagles Hospital.

His treatment here includes chemotherapy, tumour resection surgery, stem cell harvest, stem cell megatherapy and radiation therapy. These will cost around $400,000.

Jayden will undergo the tumour resection surgery on May 15. He will go to the US for more treatment, which will cost around $800,000.

In February, Jayden's parents launched a campaign to raise $1.2 million for his treatment. They have since raised just over $200,000.

Caelyn's parents also launched a campaign on April 28 to raise $150,000 for her treatment. They have hit the amount, thanks to the campaign as well as donations from friends and family.

Mr Lee said: "I am thankful to my bosses and colleagues for being understanding, and to friends, family and kind souls who have helped us in any way. The power of people has helped save my daughter's life."