Tuesday, September 8, 2009

ANGEL DECLAN DU TOIT, SOUTH AFRICA






How Dec’s journey started

Declan was born on 14 June 2008 at 10 am. Mommy had a 21 hour labour and since he didn’t seem to want to face the world he was brought into it with the aid of forceps.

He was a beautiful little boy as all parents would say, with white blonde hair and we briefly considered calling him Billy Idol Du Toit. He scored 9 out of 10 on apgar and then 10 out of 10 at 5 minutes, so all in all a healthy bouncing baby boy.
His right eye was however swollen closed and he had a small bruise underneath it which the doctors told us was from the use of forceps. We were told the bruise would subside in 7 – 10 days. We came home all ready to start life as our new little family and besides some lack of sleep, Mommy and Daddy decided that this whole parenting thing didn’t seem that tough.
A week later though, the bruise had grown so when we went to our first clinic weigh-in, we asked the Sister whether this was normal. She wasn’t very happy with it and sent us off to our Pediatrician who was also not very happy and checked us in to Flora Clinic. His view was that the bruise had turned a bit septic and had formed an abscess. The eye specialist came to see him on Monday to perform an aspiration, where they inject a needle into the bruise and suck out the abscess. She was a bit taken aback when she did the procedure as there was no fluid, but not to worry because it was probably blood that had hardened and the forceps had probably a broken a vein that was bleeding. She did in passing mention it could also be a tumor which took us aback, but we didn’t believe it could be anything that bad.
On Tuesday they sent Dec off for x-rays and on Wednesday our world fell apart. Declan was only 9 days old and the eye specialist requested a CAT scan so that she could go in and remove the “blood” but after removing some of the mass and looking at it under a microscope she told us there were abnormal cells. This still didn’t mean that much until at 8 pm that evening we were called off to a private room to be given the news by our Pediatrician. Declan had cancer. He had a malignant tumor which appeared to be growing from the back of his eye.
We fell apart. I don’t think anything can prepare you for news like this. A tiny little 9 day old baby is not supposed to get a disease which we always believed was reserved for adults like us who didn’t take that great care of their bodies.

I must have received an email requesting prayers for Dec at least a dozen times. I was so touched when i first went to visit Dec’s site and heart broken to learn of such a tiny tot who had to fight such a big monster. Gillian and Daryl started their website www.all-hands-on-dec.co.za to keep national and international friends and family up to date with little Dec’s progress , and boy did this site grow into an enormous following , more then just a support group, it became an online family.

Declan started chemotherapy at the Joburg Gen at did have an initial reaction to the chemotherapy which started eating up the monster, alveolar rhabdomyasarcoma.
Many stories were in our national news papers and Dec was even the star in an ad for CHOC, the South African Childhood Cancer association. Many drives were held and many friends made.
The tumor behind Dec’s eye started growing and changing and had spread to a lymph node in his neck, and Gill and Daryl and the medical team had to sit down to make some new important decisions on what to do with treatment, in terms of rather trying radiation and surgery.
Declan has surgery to remove the monster behind his eye in November 2008 and everything was removed. During all the sugeries and chemo sessions and blood checks and scans , Dec continued to smile and grab everyones hearts around the entire glob.
He started radiation to the lymph node in his neck and to his eye in Dec 08. During this time, the amazing people at 94.7 ( one of the most popular radio stations in the country) surprised Dec, Gillian and Daryl with a Christmas Wishlist answered after the entire All Hands on Dec family wrote to 94.7 asking them to help this amazing family anyway they could and they answered many prayers by helping with al of Dec’s medical bills!!!!!!!
In the beginning of January 09 a scan revealed that there was just a sliver of the monster left behind Dec’s eye, the lymph node much smaller and lungs all clear.
On the 3rd of February we read the most spine chilling post ever:
Hello Declan friends, Granny Wendy writing to you today. Declan is not up to writing at the moment as we have had some bad news.
Declan started to get ill last Wednesday as was shown by his blood tests, and on Saturday night he was rushed to hospital. Early Monday morning he had a lumbar punch and various other tests and the results are bad. Declan has tumours on his head, behind his ear, on his chest, on the other side of his neck and in his bone marrow. In other words, the monster has crept into every corner of his body. He is on oxygen and morphine to ease his pain. The doctors have told us that we will have our darling little man for another month if we are lucky.
Gillian and Daryl have decided on home care with palliative treatment and hopefully the whole family will return to the warmth and love of their home tomorrow. We will be taking along the oxygen and will probably have round the clock nursing assistance.
BUT - this is not the end. There have been so many miracles along the way in Declans life and we are asking you all to mobilise your prayer army, cell group, Church, friends, e-mail lists and any other person you can think of, because the greatest Healer holds Declan in the palm of his hand and can work another miracle. The earthly doctors have done everything within their power and we accept their prognosis and the family are being realistic and preparing themselves, BUT WE HAVE NOT GIVEN UP. Our Heavenly Father and Healer is the One we rely on. For the caterpiller (in this case the cancer monster) it is the end, but for the butterfly it is a new beginning. Declan is our butterfly and we pray for his healing and stretching of beautiful wings for a life of complete healing and wholeness.

It is really hard for me to even read it again now as i typed – i feel the same shock and anger and sadness i did the night i read this.
We continued to pray and hope and ask Our Lord for a miracle of healing for Dec, but his healing was up in the heavens with Our Heavenly Father, who called Dec to come home 08 Feb 09, 7 months ago today. It was one of the saddest moments ever for a family around the world that prayed so hard for this precious little bundle of joy.
Only a few short weeks after, Claire and I had the privilege of meeting Gill and Daryl for the very first time and we swore that we wanted to be a part of their team to help children who are fighting cancer and their families in ways that they needed most
Through the most difficult time of their lives, ALL HANDS ON DEC FRIENDS charity was born to honor Declan and to help others. In such a short space of time this charity has done enormous and amazing things. The AHODF family was a huge part in the massive success that Scrub a dub dub was and i cant say thank you enough. A stem cell donor and blood donor day was held, which was a great success and has added many potential donors to the much needed registry. They have also given the Joburg Gen oncology ward brand new mattresses which were desperately needed. A spring Scuba dive was just completed this weekend to raise funds. The current project is busy boxes, collecting all lovely goodies to give to the kids to keep busy with while they have treatment. Upcoming events include creating awareness at the 94.7 cycle challenge. Dec surely has changed the world in so many ways. He has inspired so many, and will continue to do so forever.

Please go and visit Decs beautiful webpage which has become a real online family site www.all-hands-on-dec.co.za
Please also go and visit the charity website for great news and upcoming projects on how you can get involved and help kids fighting cancer http://www.allhandsondecfriends.org./
Gill and Daryl, thank you for sharing your beautiful boy with the world and for fighting so hard for others, you are inspirations, i look forward to being of help and a part of many projects in the future, i am honoured to call you friends.

God Bless and all our love, Dec will never be forgotten

14 comments:

Lacey said...

What a brave little boy, fighting cancer since he was born. Sometimes you have to wonder what God was thinking to do this to our little one's. Rest in peace sweet angel.

Debbie said...

Thank you Samm for sharing this sweet, inspiring boy with us! Your words are so true-Dec will never be forgotten.
Debbie

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