The “Heja Stina!” fund-raising collection
“Heja Stina!” is Swedish and means “Go Stina!”. “Heja” is the word heard around football pitches and other sporting events from fans cheering their heroes to victory.
Go to this page to make a contribution (the site accepts Mastercard/Visa).
The page is in Swedish, but don’t worry, just follow these instructions (youtube video).
Stina is an exuberant and strong-willed eight year old who’s fighting leukaemia (acute lymphoblastic leukaemia). She was diagnosed in September 2015. In the autumn, she had been unusually tired. It was hard for her to bike to school and excursions with the school were beyond her physical capacity. She was pale and lethargic. We thought she just ate too little. At the end of September, Stina was home from school for about a week. She had a fever on and off. She was tired and slept brief moments during the day, something she never did otherwise. Monday, September 28, she became seriously ill. She lost control of the left side of the body. In the emergency room, the lab report showed that she had an Hbg of 3.5 (should be higher than 11.0). Later in the evening we were told that she had leukaemia.
The first month of treatment didn’t work well. Her cancer was resistant to chemotherapy so the doctors decided she needed to undergo a stem cell transplant. The time from November until the transplant in March Stina underwent an extremely tough treatment. On January 15 she had brain swelling (caused by the chemotherapy) which caused her to stop breathing. She was in the intensive care unit in a drug-induced coma and on a ventilator. After a few days the medical team managed to wake her. Her recovery was remarkable. On the first day she had very limited ability to move the left side of her body, but only a few days later she was walking and talking like nothing had happened!
As of this writing (May 10, 2016) Stina is doing well. She is fully recovered from the brain swelling. She is cancer free and the doctors are very happy with her progress.
About Leukaemia (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia)
In Sweden, about 300 children are diagnosed with cancer every year. The most common childhood cancer is leukaemia. There are different types of leukaemia, but the most common form is called ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukaemia). Leukaemia was previously known as blood cancer. It occurs in the bone marrow found in the major skeletal parts. The bone marrow produces all the blood cells – red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets etc. Typical symptoms of leukaemia are paleness, fatigue, chronic wounds and bruises that will not disappear.
Read this excellent article about ALL! (external link)
Nowadays the treatment of ALL is very successful with a high survival rate. 86% of all children affected by ALL survive (Sweden). The treatment is very tough though. Infections are very common during treatment because chemotherapy lowers the immune system to extremely low levels. In recent years, improved treatment outcomes have been achieved through multi-therapy (several different drugs are used in combination) and by increasing doses for almost every type of drug. The downside of high-dose chemotherapy is the side effects. The treatment is divided into three different levels depending on how the patient responds to the first month of treatment. The three levels are standard, intermediate- and high-risk. Stina is being treated with high-risk treatment and has undergone a stem cell transplant.