Nana, Aged 11, Ghana

18-year-old Michael never expected to become a caregiver for his younger brother, Nana (pictured above). We spoke to the brothers about the impact of Nana’s leukaemia diagnosis on the whole family and how your support is making a difference.

In March 2020, 11-year-old Nana suddenly became very weak and was rushed to his local hospital. He was initially treated for malaria, however as his symptoms did not improve, he was referred to Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH). KBTH is a specialist cancer centre that has been supported by World Child Cancer for over a decade. It was here that Nana was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Nana had been a very sociable and active child, who loved playing football and video games with his friends and his diagnosis came as a big shock to the family.

Michael, Nana’s oldest brother, stepped in to offer support to his mother.

"Mum was devastated and had lost hope. I had to let go all that I was doing to offer support to my her because she was drained.”

Michael, Nana's brother

Michael began to take his brother to hospital appointments, where they received support from World Child Cancer. They were given help with diagnostic and treatment costs, transport, nutrition and accommodation support, as well as psychosocial support. 

“It could have been very difficult without the support because our own resources weren’t enough. The support is lifesaving, and our hopes were revived. We are indeed grateful to World Child Cancer and the hospital staff for treating us well."

Michael, Nana's brother

Now Nana is doing very well, he can spend more time with his six siblings. He often jokes about when he used to be very weak and everyone was worried about him.

“It’s a joy to see Nana play with his siblings, making everybody laugh with his encouragement especially when someone is sick”. 

Michael, Nana's brother

Nana would like to be a footballer or a soldier when he grows up. His older brother also has high hopes for his future.

“I know he would be very bright because he is one of the top stars in our family, he is a great problem solver and has a good brain power so things are going to be very bright. He inspires others.”

Michael, Nana's brother

When asked what advice he would have for other parents and caregivers, Michael tells us

“Parents must explain the situation to the child to help them understand. They should ask questions to satisfy their curiosity to debunk or confirm what they think. Things are possible to go back to normal. Above all, they should not give up on hope.”

Michael, Nana's brother

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