Aunt tells of family’s cancer trauma

Taybah Lakay, 3
Shameega Frantz, Strandfontein

Thank you for allowing me to share the story of my niece, Taybah Lakay, 3, who was diagnosed with cancer on Tuesday October 23.
She has a little mass at the back of her neck, had neck pain and limited neck movement for several months, following misdiagnosis, as a pinched nerve.
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and a computerized tomography (CT) scan confirmed that Taybah has a malignant skull base chordoma, a type of bone cancer, which cannot be cured and does not have any treatment.
The tumor at the base of her skull is compressing her spinal cord and continues to grow.
Her condition has been challenging for the family, her mother Aysha Lakay, her grandma Gabieba Omar, great grandma Farieda Lakay and uncle Ishmaeel Lakay, who all live in Mountview Estate.
Her immediate needs have changed drastically.
Her steroid medication has increased her appetite by more than 100 percent.
While the steroids alleviates the swelling and pain, it has a negative effect on her once bubbly personality.
She is more emotional, sometimes irrational and in many instances grumpy.
In the last six weeks, since diagnosis, Taybah can no longer stand, walk or sit up. The reality of her condition seems to become more and more clear as time passes by, as we witness how she slowly loses her abilities.
She could once play with her friends, sit up at the dinner table and now she can’t even have a normal conversation with her cousins whom she adores so much – those abilities are now gone. It is very hard on all of us because we feel helpless against this disease but she has a fighting spirit that keeps surprising us.
She has taught us patience, endurance and never to lose faith.
Taybah and the family have received and still is receiving great love and support from friends and family, even from strangers, who have never met her but because she is so brave she has touched many people from all over. 
We have had the wonderful support from Reach For A Dream Foundation, who treated Taybah and a few of her cousins with an excursion to the Two Oceans Aquarium at the Waterfront.
She is also being showered with well wishes and gifts with many strangers reaching out to her just to offer their prayers.
Taybah also participated in the Cancer Relay For Life event early this year, hosted by the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA). She walked a few kilometres till after midnight with cancer survivors and to honour her late great grandpa, Ishmail Omar, who also passed away due to stomach cancer a few months earlier. In March next year, our family will be registering a team in honour of her strength and courage as she has proven to all of us that she is a fighter. It is very difficult for all of us even more so for her parents to come to terms with her battle.
We know this battle cannot be won, but we have accepted that this is the will of the Almighty and we shall not for a moment question that.
All we as her family can do is to support her and pray for this journey to be as pain-free and comfortable for her as possible. We are travelling this journey with her every step of the way.
Heaven is by far a much better place for her. 
She was re-admitted to  Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital on Saturday December 15.
We would like to urge families to participate in the Cansa Relay For Life in Mitchell’s Plain at Westridge High School on Friday March 1. It is an overnight event which sees teams of 10 to 15 people spending up to 12 hours walking or running around a track. It is a celebration of cancer survivors and their presence in communities.
For more information call chairperson Saadiqa Abrahams on 061 494 1413.