Mariam - the little girl who changed our world

Meet Mariam - one of the first children to recieve treatment for Leukaemia on the Children's cancer ward at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute in 2007.

She was a remarkable child. Always in good form even when she was deparately ill. She promised once she was well she would study hard and come back and help us as a doctor. She was also really fun. Once when still groggy from an anaesthetic we gave her she showed us her best dance moves and then told me that we were no longer friends. When I enquired as to why - she told me it was because I had given her an injection and now she was talking nonsense. She was wonderful.

Mariam had a very agressive form of leukaemia and soon enough it was back and we had no treatment left to give her. Dying was inevitable but what happened to Mariam was not and it changed everything on the ward.

Up until that point we had no nursing cover on the ward overnight. The awfulness of this became apparent when I arrived on the ward the morning Mariam died - she had a terrible last night. No one had comforted her, given her pain meds, stopped her vomiting, eased her suffering in any way. She had cried all night.

Everyone working on the ward was devastated and we pledged that no child would ever have a similar experience. From that day forward nurses were onsite at all times fighting for the little people on curative treatment and gently caring and easing the pain of those children who were beyond our treatment.

We will never forget our beautiful Mariam.

Kiwi popsicle

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