Neeshay’s Story

Niki Duarte 08/06/1985 – 21/03/2011
9th August 2015
A Tribute to Matthew Thomson – Our Heart, love and joy
9th August 2015
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Neeshay’s Story


neeshay2007 was an exciting year for Neeshay, it was her first year at big school and she would be making lots of new friends. The year started off well, she looked forward to going to school each day.

July arrived; once again she was so thrilled to go to school, because it would be her first birthday at big school. Suddenly, a few days later, I noticed that Neeshay was having night sweats and high temps. I took her to the Dr a few times and each time it was said that she had the flu, or she was anaemic. For three months we visited the Dr, who then referred us to a specialist to try and find the source of Neeshay`s weight loss and listless. On 27 September Neeshay was diagnosed with Leukaemia (AML). She was hospitalised immediately, and a bone marrow biopsy was done to determine the severity.

At the time I was 8 months pregnant with our second child, and on 28 September while sitting at Neeshay`s bedside, my waters break. So I was rushed to hospital to have our baby. When I arrive at the maternity ward, very close to having a breakdown of my own, the wonderful nurses who assisted me told me about stem cell collection, I knew nothing about that type of thing, so with a lot of research and conversations we decided to go that route. In the mean time Neeshay was treated with high risk/doses of chemotherapy, which brought her into remission.

With the collection of the stem cell, tests were done to see if Neeshay and her sister were a match. After many test, it was confirmed that they were a 100% match. Unfortunately, when the time arrived to use the stem cells that were collected, it was discovered, that not enough cells were collected. Thankfully at the time Neeshay was in remission, so the urgency for the stem cell transplant was not that high. She was fit and well for two years, when in March 2010, at one of her routine checkups, it was discovered that something was wrong. After some tests, lots of crying, from both mom and child, it was confirmed that she had relapsed.

Once again, she had to be treated with high dose chemotherapy, to get her back into remission, in order for her to have a transplant.  In June 2010, Neeshay was ready to have her transplant, and one week prior, Hope(her sister) started on drugs , which lasted five days. (Hope will be four years  old in September) It was difficult to have both kids in hospital, but we knew it had to be done.   The collection process took about 6/8 hours; thankfully Hope was sedated for this period of time.  The transplant process for Neeshay took about 30 minutes under the watchful eyes of her doctors. Hope has fully recovered, Thank God and vaguely remembers what happened, but she knows that she has helped save her sister’s life.  Neeshay spent all of three weeks in isolation, which is quicker than normal, and is recovering well. She unfortunately had to spend her birthday in hospital, but the best gift she could get, was to be sent home. She had to spend three more weeks in hospital.