Zaarah,9, battles cancer in the midst of a pandemic

Zaarah Reid, 9, is battling bone cancer.

A Kraaifontein family has started scraping money together for 9-year-old Zaarah Reid who has been battling cancer during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A troublesome pimple-like lump on Zaarah’s left leg sent her to Karl Bremer Hospital in August. Doctors diagnosed her with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) on August 10. She was started on chemotherapy on September 11.

Since then, despite Zaarah’s weekly visits to Tygerberg Hospital’s children’s oncology unit, the cancer has spread to other parts of her leg.

Lizette Baartman said her daughter had lost most of her body fat and a lot of her hair because of the chemo treatments.

Her daughter, who had once been a jovial, friendly and an outgoing child, had become withdrawn.

“Just after being diagnosed, Zaarah did not speak. She loved taking (selfies) but that all stopped,” she said.

Zaarah had started bringing up blood from her nose and mouth about a month ago, but was doing better after a blood transfusion, Ms Baartman said.

The “sudden attack of cancer”, she added, had caused financial stress as she was unemployed and her husband had suffered a salary cut because of Covid-19.

Zaarah is on a protein shake to keep her sustained and the family have to find a lift or use public transport to hospital twice a week. The hospital bills are also piling up.

Ms Baartman said the doctors were still deciding whether they would need to amputate her daughter’s leg.

Tygerberg Hospital spokeswoman Laticia Pienaar confirmed that Zaarah was a patient in the children’s oncology ward. Her next hospital visit is scheduled for January.

If you would like to help Zaarah and her family, contact Lizette Baartman at 063 020 5627.

Zaarah, 9, with her parents, Daniel and Lizzette Baartman.
Zaarah in the early stages of chemotherapy treatment