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Help us fight for Elena
One of the things which always come to my mind when I think about our 10 year old daughter, is how strong and determined she has always been when taking up challenges and goals. Elena has always been incredibly strong since she was just a baby, and I can remember how amazed and surprised we were when she started showing her true character and determination when she was just a newborn, back when we were living in Sydney. Whenever she wanted something, Elena would be the one with the firm determination and resilience to fight for anything she wanted. Sometimes a challenge and even a nightmare for us parents! :)
In addition to her amazing determination, Elena is also a very sweet and beautiful human being, showing always how warmhearted, loving and generous she is with friends, family and people around her, as well as loving and caring with her pets or any animals.
The worst imaginable news for any parents
This past January, our lives were turned upside down when we found out that Elena would have to start her toughest fight yet: bone cancer (osteosarcoma). For any parent, such news are very hard to accept at first, and assimilate that this is happening to your own child. And the only thing you want is make everything in your hands to make your child be able to fight and win this monster disease. Anything else, even the things you believed to be important in life, fade away and become completely secondary.
Without knowing what it was, Elena had been feeling the tumor in her left knee for more than two months - again proof of how strong and resilient our daughter is. Since November 2020, Elena had started complaining about some pain in her left knee sometimes, but at that time we’d never imagined this could be cancer. However, when the pain wasn’t going away for weeks, we made a proper check finally and it was in early January when we got the worst imaginable news. When we thought her pain was just part of the growing process and it would go away naturally, now we know that Elena will need much more to overcome her cancer. And our quest as her parents and family is to move heaven and earth and do everything possible to fight this beast together with her.
Being myself away in Beijing for work when the news arrived, at first this was something extremely hard to digest and accept it was happening to my own child. I remember how I immediately asked for an extended leave at work, since the only thing I wanted was to be with my daughter and give her all my support and love during this difficult time, and make such a tough journey as smooth and bearable as possible for her. As I’m sure any parent would do.
The first, most urgent challenge was to get Elena admitted at the hospital to ensure she could start with chemotherapy as soon as possible. We achieved this at the end of January and it’s been a relentless process of exhausting days at hospital, chemotherapy rounds, blood tests, PET/CT scans, etc. since then.
Elena is going through a very strong chemo program and is having some effects on her, but what really amazes us is how strong, positive and composed she remains. This keeps truly surprising us and our daughter’s positivity and optimism is being an inspiration for us all. Even she gets sometimes unhappy and upset, particularly when she needs to stay longer than expected at the hospital, she remains strong, calm and brave.
Initially Elena was supposed to have her surgery after the 2nd round of chemotherapy, in early April, however, due to covid, the procurement of her prosthetic has been delayed and therefore she is going through another round of chemo until we get her prosthetic knee. Fortunately, it seems that we will be able to go ahead with her surgery in May.
CancerTreating cancer is expensive and the average medical cost ranges from 80.000 to 140.000 euro, however, very fortunately, part of the cost is covered by the public health system in Hong Kong.
Elena is being treated at the great Hong Kong Children’s public hospital, however many essential tests like PET/CT scans, blood cultures, etc. are not covered by the public health system and unfortunately all these critical tests need to be done regularly for the duration of her treatment (the cost of one PET scan alone is of 1.200 euro, for example). Elena’s prosthetic knee will cost 39.000 euro, which again isn’t covered neither by the public system nor our private health insurance unfortunately.
We know this is going to be a long and tough fight. Once her prosthetic knee is ready, the exact date for Elena’s extensive surgery will be confirmed, and her chemotherapy program will resume for another 3 months, or up to 5 months after the surgery (depending on the result of the surgery and her response to chemo).
And after the whole chemotherapy process is over, Elena will start her recovery, which will suppose an intense and costly physiotherapy program for at least two years.
What is sure is that Elena’s strength and positive attitude towards the whole process is helping enormously to make it easier for all of us. And we are incredibly proud of her.
Any money collected for Elena will go directly to cover the medical costs which are not covered by the public health system or medical insurance, however if you prefer that your support goes to something different or special for Elena, just please let us know. In any case any sort of contribution will be of great help for Elena now and will be welcomed wholeheartedly.
Thank you very much for your interest reading Elena’s story and we will be deeply grateful for any support or donation you are able to provide for our daughter at this critical moment in her life.
Javier, on behalf of Elena and family
- Javier Fabregat Degen
Elena has started physical therapy!Update posted by Javier Fabregat Degen at 06:24 am
Resuming chemoUpdate posted by Javier Fabregat Degen at 06:39 am
Elena has been recovering slowly after her surgery and she has finally resumed with the chemo rounds recently.The doctors decided to delay the chemo for a few days after Elena got some fever after the surgery. She had the routine bloods taken for cultures, however the doctors were not able. . . . .
Elena's progress after surgeryUpdate posted by Javier Fabregat Degen at 06:37 am
We have received encouraging news from the doctors today and it seems they see good progress and the signs of recovery we were all hoping for Elena. Since the levels of pain are slowly diminishing, they are planning to take out her epidural tomorrow, so weaning her off that pain. . . . .
Update after Elena's surgeryUpdate posted by Javier Fabregat Degen at 06:28 am
After an 9 hour surgery yesterday, it seems that everything went according to plan. Our daughter had to have a muscle flap, where they take part of the calf muscle and flip it up to protect the implant as there wasn’t much soft tissue at the knee area. But this. . . . .
Elena's surgeryUpdate posted by Javier Fabregat Degen at 07:12 am
The day we’ve all been anticipating and also feeling anxious about has finally arrived. Elena is having her surgery today, to remove the tumor and part of her knee and femur (which have been damaged by the cancer) and put in the prosthetic and a rod. As soon as she. . . . .
THANK YOU!Update posted by Javier Fabregat Degen at 05:49 pm
First of all, thank you so much to everyone for the overwhelming support and words of encouragement from friends, colleagues and even unknown people, who have decided to join our daughter in her fight with cancer. We are forever grateful for the many signs of love shown for our precious. . . . .