Parents send out plea for help for baby girl with rare tumour

LATEST UPDATE: The operation to remove the remaining 25 per cent of the tumour in the centre of her brain has been successful. However, there is still a third operation up ahead to remove a second tumour in the left side of her brain.

From the Derek and Nicole, parents of baby Neira: “We thank everyone for the prayers, well-wishes, and donations. In the good care of the surgeons, the operation was successful, she (Neira) is safe now. Let’s pray for her recovery and prepare for her third operation ahead.”

SINGAPORE - A Singapore couple has sent out a plea for help for their baby, who has been diagnosed with a dangerous and rare brain tumour that requires hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat.

Three and a half months old, little Neira looks no different from her peers, but behind her sweet face she bears a terrible burden.

Three weeks ago, she began vomitting and feeling sick. A check with the doctor found nothing out of the ordinary - just that her head circumference seemed way to big for a child of her age.

Upon the doctor's advice, an MRI scan was done. The scan revealed that she had not one, but two tumours in her brain, and the growth rate of the tumours were 50 per cent.

An operation was quickly scheduled, and the doctor managed to successfully remove 75 per cent of the tumour in the centre of the brain, Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao reported.

However, 25 per cent of the tumour was still left in the centre of her brain, and there was still another tumour lurking in her left portion of her brain.

In a phone interview with the Chinese daily, Neira's father told the reporter that his daughter has a very rare form of brain tumour. "The doctor said that in Singapore, there are such cases only once every several years, and that the survival rate is only 10 per cent," Derek said sadly.

For further medical treatment, her parents have to come out another $400,000 to $500,000 to get her treated at a private hospital.

This is on top of the $50,000 bill that has piled up from the past three weeks of treatment and hospital stay at a C-class ward.

Derek has used his MediSave to pay $12,000 of the medical bill, and now he is in a tight situation facing forward.

Although social workers and the Children's Cancer Foundation have stepped in to help, the family faces a hard time securing Government funding.

The family explained that this is because they are a middle-class family with two working parents, and that funding is provided only when their MediSave is depleted and only one parent is working.

Derek said that when a good friend found out about the couple's situation, he took it upon himself to spread the word on the Internet. A blog was set up and a post describing the couple's plight was written.

Since its conception on Saturday, the post has already been shared 7,000 times at the time of this publication.

According to a latest update, Neira has gone under the knife to remove the remaining 25 per cent of the first tumour at the centre of her brain. The operation is dangerous and even if it's successful, Neira may suffer loss of senses, or even paralysis.

Three weeks from now, she is scheduled to undergo another operation to remove the left brain tumour. Even after that, little Neira will still not be out of the woods. She will need to undergo chemotherapy to remove the last of her cancerous cells.

If you wish to find out more about little Neira or how to make a donation, head over to saveneira.wordpress.com .

Excerpt

Excerpt taken from http://saveneira.wordpress.com, a blog set up to help little Neira get the funds she desperately needs:

"3 weeks ago, baby Neira was not smiling like a usual baby would. She kept vomiting, and was feeling sick. Her parents sent her for checkup but found nothing. The only unusual thing was that baby Neira's head circumference was way off the chart for her age. The doctor advice that she should go for a MRI scan.

"After the MRI scan, the results showed that there were 2 tumors in the brain, and the growth rate is 50 per cent. The first operation was carried out, and the doctor successfully removed 75 per cent of the tumor at the centre of the brain. For the past 3 weeks of treatment and hospital stay in C class ward, the bill was $50,000. Derek paid $12,000 using his MediSave and the rest was government subsidies. He did not buy a HealthShield insurance for Neira, and now he is in a tight situation facing forward. However, the remaining 25 per cent located at the centre of the brain, and another on her left brain measured 4 x 3 x 2.5cm is still not removed. The doctor advised that to remove the remaining tumor has high risk, and even if the operation is successful, the consequences may be that baby Neira may lose her senses, like sight, taste, or hearing. In worst case, she may be paralyzed.

"To seek medical treatment, Derek is required to come out with estimated SGD400,000 to SGD500,000 (from private hospital). He is looking at $200,000 outlay funding to treat Neira. A latest document will be uploaded.

"Social workers and children cancer foundation have stepped up to help also, but help will only be given when their MediSave is entirely used and one of the parents cannot have a job. If they are a middle-class family with 2 working parents, then funding will be very difficult.

If you wish to find out more about little Neira or how to make a donation, head over to saveneira.wordpress.com .