BY JEDIAEL CARTER Sunday Observer staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org Sunday, February 07, 2016
You would think that having lost a leg to cancer when she was just three years old, Rusheka Goodhall would be disconsolate.
Quite the opposite.
She moves around the Jamaica Observer boardroom as most children would, and elicits laughter with her unsolicited interjections during a discussion at last week’s Observer Monday Exchange.
For instance, when her mother, Shecker Anderson, began explaining how Rusheka’s leg started swelling after she hit it while playing at home two years ago, the now five-year-old cancer survivor held both arms apart, obviously exaggerating the size of the swelling, and looked around the room of adults with a broad grin. “It started to swell, she started to walk with a limp, so I took her to the doctor the next day,” the mother explained. “When she went to the doctor, she did an X-ray and it showed a fracture and they put on a cast. When the cast came off, it was swollen and they ordered her to do an MRI. She did a biopsy, a lot of things,” Anderson said, then broke down in tears.
Rusheka, seeing her mother’s pain, leaned over and hugged her. A touching moment.
It was that blow to the leg that led to Rusheka being diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer of the muscle, in which a tumour attaches itself to the bone, either in the head, neck, urogenital track, arms, or legs.
The tests revealed that little Rusheka had stage 3 cancer, meaning it had spread to an organ.
“At the time when her cancer was discovered she also had some evidence that it had just spread to the abdomen,” Dr Michelle Reece Mills, paediatric oncologist at the University Hospital of the West Indies, told the Monday Exchange.
|Five-year-old cancer survivor Rusheka Goodhall walks |
about the Jamaica Observer boardroom last Monday.
Sagicor, organisers of the annual 5K scheduled for February 21 in Kingston, hope to raise $50 million to contribute to the three causes. The effort was praised by Dr Reece Mills and Jamaica Cancer Society Executive Director Yulit Gordon.
Dr Reece Mills was particularly thankful, having treated other children with cancer and witnessing first-hand the toll it takes on parents.
For instance, the doctor recalled how difficult it was for Rusheka’s mother when amputation was recommended to aggressively fight the cancer and limit its spread.
“One of the important things for some cancers is what we call local control, so in order to prevent the risk of it actually coming back, her local control was amputation. In some other instances you can do radiation to the area,” Dr Reece Mills explained. more