At the age of four, Lydia was diagnosed with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 1, an extremely rare disorder that causes tumours in glands and parts of the small intestine and stomach. At 12 years old, she was diagnosed with Metastatic Neuroendocrine Cancer, which had progressed at an unexpected rate. As a result, Lydia endured multiple invasive surgeries to remove tumours, daily medication and ongoing hospital treatment to control the spread of the tumours.
One of her most recent medical treatments involved a dose of radiation so intense that she had to remain in her hospital room alone behind lead lined doors, to prevent any radiation contamination.
Lydia’s diagnosis, treatment and long and repeated hospital stays have dominated her life. She missed so much of her young life and so much of what other teenagers take for granted. The need to be isolated during the Covid-19 pandemic further impacted her feelings of separation and isolation.
Meeting Spread a Smile has made a hugely positive difference for Lydia and her family. Our in-person and virtual visits have provided much needed interactions, activities and peer support that has helped transform her emotional wellbeing.
Suzanne, Lydia’s Mum said, “Pain and treatment has been really upsetting for Lydia, and consequently, me. When your child doesn’t feel well and they are very vulnerable and you can’t hug them, it is the hardest thing. It goes completely against a mother’s natural instincts. But this all changed when Spread a Smile visited. Magicians doing magic tricks, fairies singing and artists face painting with glitter and gems – it brightened up our day. They lifted Lydia’s mood and gave us something else to think and talk about. During her time in hospital, in isolation and when recovering at home, Spread a Smile provided Lydia with many vital distractions. You have been a lifeline to both Lydia and her brother, Samuel, during such difficult times. When you have a child going through cancer treatment, any support means so much more.”
Please help ensure we can continue to support young people like Lydia and their families by donating today. Thank you.