Esha was just four years old when in May 2021 she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. Following her diagnosis, she initially spent 15 weeks in Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) undergoing three intensive cycles of chemotherapy. However, after finding out that the initial chemotherapy had been ineffective, the family were told that she now needed a life saving bone marrow transplant which could be her last hope.
The doctors and the family began a global search for a stem cell match. After one more round of intensive chemotherapy during which time Esha became incredibly ill, a stem cell match was thankfully found in September 2021.
Esha underwent a bone marrow transplant in October 2021 and has been back at home since February 2022 recovering from some post-transplant complications.
In total, Esha spent nine months in hospital, five of those in complete isolation. Due to increased Covid restrictions, Esha was completely cut off from the rest of her family including her older sister, Ria. Spread a Smile supported Esha and her family during this time through one-to-one virtual sessions including art, sing-alongs, magic shows and cupcake decorating.
Esha’s Mum, Kav said: “The sessions with Spread a Smile were literally a lifeline to us whilst we were in hospital. We couldn’t see anyone or go anywhere. Just to see another human being meant the world to us and the fact that the sessions were simply about enjoying ourselves meant even more.”
Since returning home, Esha still spends most of her time in isolation, to help protect her body. She has continued her online art sessions with Spread a Smile – something she particularly enjoys.
“Esha really looks forward to her online art therapy sessions with Spread a Smile as they allow her to be creative and express herself during times when she needs to find an outlet, forget stuff and simply have fun. She is able to escape emotionally and mentally from what’s happening to her, channelling her energy and emotion and giving her ways to cope with the trauma of her experiences.
“Esha has missed two and a half years of school and has spent a large amount of that time in isolation. During this time, Spread a Smile has become part of our family. They helped us through our time in hospital, giving us hope and moments of distraction, happiness and normality. The impact they have had for Esha is huge, supporting her emotional well-being, especially during times of invasive and gruelling treatment when she was feeling the worst she could possibly feel.
“Spread a Smile gave Esha something to look forward to and they still do! They help her to be a child again, doing normal fun activities that other children her age do. Thank you Spread a Smile for all that you have done and continue to do. You have certainly brought many ‘smiles’ to our Esha.”
Please help ensure we can continue to support children like Esha and their families by donating today. Thank you.