The Nash family

Impact on the relationship between siblings

After ten weeks of uncertainty surrounding Maya’s health, her parents, Terry and Dellanie, were given the devastating news that their three-year-old daughter had high-risk neuroblastoma. Over a 20-month period, Maya endured ten cycles of chemotherapy, stem cell harvest, surgery, stem cell transplant, high-dose chemotherapy, radiotherapy, differentiation therapy and immunotherapy. 

Maya completed frontline treatment with NEAD (No Evidence of Active Disease) in 2019 and, knowing how aggressive Maya’s cancer was and the high relapse rates, her family fundraised to access the bivalent vaccine clinical trial in America. Maya completed the trial in 2020 and has been enjoying life outside of hospitals and appointments since then. 

Sadly, relapse rates for high-risk neuroblastoma are high and, in July 2023, Maya’s family confirmed the shock news that she had relapsed. Maya is currently receiving treatment as per the NHS protocol for relapsed neuroblastoma.

Maya's sister, Lola, describes how Maya’s neuroblastoma diagnosis impacted her and her relationship with her little sister: 

“When Maya received her diagnosis, I felt so disheartened, and I was confused as to why this was happening to my sister.” 

Limited relationship 

“Over time, I think it has limited my relationship with my sister as we have not been able to bond as well as we could have. We wouldn’t get to do things together very often as she had to spend so much of her time at the hospital. 

“I have tried to support her mentally by trying to cheer her up and being there for her. I play with her often and try to improve her mood.”

Dellanie, Maya’s mum, explains how the diagnosis affected both the family and the relationship between Maya and Lola: 

“The diagnosis shattered our hearts into thousand pieces. Overnight, our family were thrown into that terrifying new world where nobody would ever wish to go.” 

Scared, angry and lonely 

“It made us anxious, scared and immensely overwhelmed. There’s a feeling of guilt. 

“'Why Maya?' we would ask ourselves, and there was a feeling of anger towards health professionals, the world, and even ourselves as her parents. 

“With Maya’s sister, Lola, we’ve noticed that there are many parallels between what we’re feeling and how Lola is feeling with Maya’s diagnosis; she's scared for Maya, angry, and lonely. 

“There are times when Lola feels really close with Maya but also times when Maya gets annoyed and wants more space. Lola has now become more tolerant and empathetic, and she’ll give in to any of Maya’s whims!” 

10 families, 1 cancer

For Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, meet 10 different families with 10 different experiences of neuroblastoma.

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