Rodenbach. The GNZ reported on the child's illness in January. Woldeselassie would like to take this opportunity to thank the GNZ readers and let them know how Aryam is doing. The response to the article in January was great and so the treatment could be carried out. It is vital for the little girl. She suffers from Hodgkin's lymphoma; this form of blood cancer is always fatal if left untreated.
Treatment in Ethiopia
Backstory: In September 2022, little Aryam traveled with her mother from Eritrea to Ethiopia for cancer treatment because she cannot receive adequate help in her home country. At the time, they were not aware of how life-threatening the girl's illness was and how long and expensive this treatment would be. It was only through the doctors at the Lancet Clinic in Addis Ababa that they found out about the severity of the illness and the treatment costs that the family could not afford.
Aryam's uncle, Yemane Woldeselassie, who lives in Germany, contacted the Tübingen association “Aktion Eine Welt”, which started a fundraising campaign. “The response from newspaper readers was overwhelming, and the successful therapy costs and the associated additional costs were able to be paid in full with the donations,” says Woldeselassie.
Severe pain and vomiting
This treatment was not easy for Aryam: what she feared most was the “blood tapping”, which had to be carried out every 14 days and always one day before the respective chemotherapy. For four to five days after the treatments, the girl was always very weak and unwilling to eat food voluntarily, due to her severe pain and vomiting, and barely responsive.
But as soon as she got better, she started to be creative. Her greatest passion was drawing. The donation money was used to buy Aryam a used tablet, which was a very important distraction and activity for her in her isolated little world, the Rodenbach resident continues. On her hospital bed in a small rented apartment, she painted and drew for hours. The motifs in her drawings were her family and her hometown as well as her impressions in the clinic. But 80 percent of her drawings were fashion drawings, which were surprisingly good from a little girl from the country who had had no contact with the fashion world until then, the uncle is proud.
Lessons via the Internet
She also received lessons in mathematics and English via the Internet from an Eritrean woman living in Germany. For the relatives in Germany, with whom she was now able to communicate, it was a great joy to see how quickly Aryam became familiar with the smart device and how she acquired the learning material via email. Aryam had never heard of the Internet before, let alone owned an electronic device.
During the treatment period, the status of therapy was monitored by CT scan between cycles 2 and 3 and between cycles 4 and 5. The blood values measured showed that the therapy was effective and the tumor was slowly regressing, the family is pleased.
While in Germany a PET-CT scan is carried out for this clinical picture, which shows the course of therapy much more reliably and accurately, this option is not available in Ethiopia. In consultation with the Ethiopian doctor, a four-day stay in Kenya was organized through private contacts in Germany. Aryam was then able to have this important check-up carried out in a clinic in Nairobi, Woldeselassie continues.
The test result confirmed the complete success of the therapy. The tumor was eroded to well under a centimeter on both sides. After her stay in Kenya, Aryam received the 5th and 6th chemotherapy treatments in Addis Ababa. The 6th cycle was on June 8th and four weeks later the girl had her first check-up. This control also showed a pleasing result. Aryam is now back in her hometown in Eritrea after almost a year of separation.
The next check-up will take place soon. The doctors in Asmara will soon decide whether this will be carried out again in Ethiopia or in Eritrea, says Woldeselassie.
“It was an incredible life-saving campaign that was possible thanks to the many generous donors,” writes the Rodenbach resident, who would like to thank them on behalf of the family. Aryam will have to undergo further check-ups at increasingly frequent intervals over the next five years. “But the course of therapy so far gives rise to great hope that Aryam has been cured of her life-threatening illness.”