I am a friend of the Cucos family (Doliana and Stefan) in Melbourne, Australia.
Dara, their only child, is a bright and happy 6 and a half year old.
About a year ago (March 2015), Dara was diagnosed with cancer (Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma) and she immediately started the chemotherapy treatment at The Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.
In September 2015, as she turned 6, Dara was in remission.
The happiness, however, did not last long. Three months later, she relapsed and the team at the same hospital under the supervision of Dr. Francoise Mechinaud, Director of the Children's Cancer Centre and her newly assigned doctor, made the decision Dara needed bone marrow transplant, a very difficult procedure, with life-long effects, which will require the complete suppression of her immune system and total isolation in a very sterile environment for the good part of a year following the procedure.
Dara is currently receiving treatment in preparation for bone marrow transplant, which is scheduled for 21st of March 2016.
For more information on leukemia treatments for children, describing the procedures and risks, including the one Dara will undergo, please click here
For more information on the Bone Marrow Transplant procedures in general, please click here
She has been in hospital more than she has been at home during the past year.
The parents have no extended family in Australia and only a small number of friends to share this burden with. Doliana (Dara's mother) could not work for the last year and she will not be able to work for the foreseeable future. Stefan, her father is still working while he also trying to support them in hospital with food and other necessities, but his leave entitlement is now exhausted and it is expected that he will require extended periods of leave without pay during the next year (assuming this will be an option available to him).
Both the physical and the psychological tolls on the family are impossible to describe and the financial problems are adding more stress.
Dara does not know she has cancer, but some sick little soldiers inside her body and she is not asking questions, although she is now in the ward where, during the previous treatment was told that really sick children need to be.
We are making an appeal for donations to help the family through this unimaginable time in their lives, for the parents to be able to concentrate on supporting Dara and giving her all the care she needs without the added stress of impending financial doom they are currently facing.
The money will go towards bare necessities for the family: food, rent, Dara's needs - books, games, toys, tutoring or entertainment to keep her stimulated and in a positive state of mind. This, in turn, we believe will have a big influence in how she will respond to the treatment.
We have organised other fundraising events, but with a smaller audience. One of them happened on the 6th of March, just before Dara started her treatment at Petty's Orchard in Templestowe, Melbourne. You can find more details about it in the updates we posted after the event.
YOUR MONEY WILL MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE IN THIS FAMILY'S CURRENT LIFE CIRCUMSTANCES!
Thank you from Dara and the Cucos family!