BCCH Foundation: Thariq’s Story

Three-year-old Thariq Daya was an active boy who loved riding his bike and playing soccer. So when he began developing symptoms like a fever and slight limp, doctors attributed it to the effects of cold and flu season.

Then one day in February 2018, Thariq’s heart started racing and he wasn’t able to walk properly. He was rushed to BC Children’s Hospital by ambulance. Within three days, the family received news that brought his mom, Shawna, to her knees – he was diagnosed with stage 4, high-risk neuroblastoma.

Neuroblastoma is a rare form of childhood cancer that that begins in certain types of nerve tissue. As is often the case, Thariq’s illness started in the adrenal glands; it then spread to other parts of his body, including his stomach, skull, pelvis, and legs. As the disease progressed, his symptoms worsened to the point where he wasn’t walking, talking, eating, or playing.

“When they found the mass, I tried to tell myself all the other things it could be. I was hysterical,” Shawna recalls. “That was the heart-wrenching, stomach-twisting moment. I cried a lot.”

At BC Children’s Hospital, Thariq quickly began an intensive treatment plan that would last a total of 18 to 24 months. It includes multiple chemotherapy induction cycles, two stem-cell transplants, daily radiation for a month, and, beginning in 2019, six months of immunotherapy.

“My life was perfect, almost too good. Life comes with ups and downs. Well this was our down,” Shawna remembers. “We have been through awful moments in chemotherapy and transplant. I would take all of those moments over hearing ‘your son has cancer’ again.”

Shawna, whose other kids are aged 7, 5 and 1, says that despite the inevitable heartache and worry that go along with her family’s situation, they feel very grateful for the care they are receiving at BC Children’s Hospital.

“I have so much trust in everyone there,” Shawna says. “I’m thankful for how close and loving they all are with all the patients. Thariq likes going to play there. He doesn’t see it as a scary place.”

As the only hospital in the province devoted exclusively to kids, over a million count on BC Children’s for care they often can’t get anywhere else. And thanks to your support, we can help improve their lives today and define the future of children’s health care for generations to come.

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