800 530 Susie

Mum, Roop, shares Ajooni’s story with us… “Three weeks short of her third birthday, Ajooni was diagnosed with leukaemia. Looking back, she had exhibited signs however, she had never been a good eater and seemed to pick up every bug at nursery, so we put her lack of energy and disinterest in play down to yet another cold. 

“However, the lethargy went on too long and when she started complaining her arms were hurting and her stomach was hard to touch, I took her to A&E at our local hospital. Within hours we were told she had just four platelets left in her body (between 500-600 is normal) and required an immediate blood and platelets transfusion.  It was a complete shock, we had been in the middle of arranging my elder daughter’s birthday party for the following day and when I called and told my husband, he was standing in a shop buying balloons.  He’s not bought a balloon since.

“After the transfusion Ajooni was transferred by ambulance to Great Ormond Street Hospital where further tests confirmed her diagnosis and treatment commenced.  I can still recall how small and pale she looked in that big hospital bed and how traumatic those first few days and weeks were, from putting in a canular to the constant testing and medicating.  She cried and was so exhausted and from then on became incredibly nervous of any medical professional coming into her room.

“Fairy Kiri from Spread a Smile popped her head into Ajooni’s room one afternoon about a month into our hospital stay. She sprinkled some fairy dust and it all seemed so magical in such a clinical world.  Ajooni couldn’t believe it; a real-life fairy coming to sing and play with her. From that first visit she couldn’t wait for Spread a Smile’s next visits and she formed a wonderful connection with both Fairy Kiri and Mr Squishy, they lifted her spirits every time. When she was stable, we were also fortunate to enjoy a trip to see the Peppa Pig Show in the West End with Spread a Smile, which she absolutely loved. It was a very personal experience and for me it was a joy to see her smiling and laughing again. We still talk about that day and how special we felt.

“I am pleased to say that Ajooni is currently well and back home but the intensity of her time in hospital and her treatment has left its scars. She is suffering from PTSD and has a needle and hospital phobia. She worries about relapses and won’t sleep alone.  It’s going to take time and counselling for us all to heal. Spread a Smile is still supporting her. Every two weeks she enjoys a piano lesson with Andy and we can really see a difference in her – music seems to reduce her anxieties and build her confidence and subsequently her resilience. 

“I don’t have the words to express our gratitude to Spread a Smile. When other services and our safely nets were removed, they have continued to offer the most amazing support. Thank you.”

Please help ensure we can continue to support children like Ajooni and their families by donating today. Thank you.