Taken in hospitals and patients’ homes, these portraits of some of the children in the My Child Matters program in Senegal, Paraguay, Colombia, Thailand, and Morocco show the realities of life behind the word “cancer.” The program aims to give children with cancer, wherever they live in the world, the same access to care. The lives of these children and their families have been changed forever, but thanks to My Child Matters, they have been given their best chance of combatting this disease.
Papa Assane, 7, and his mother Fatumata Seydi Diouf
“I took him for a general check-up when he was six months old. After some tests, they said that he had a tumor and referred us to Hôpital Le Dantec in Senegal, where they confirmed he had cancer. He had an operation and six months of chemotherapy; he missed a year of school. It was so hard on him – but he never, ever cried.”
Josema Salinas, 8, and her mother, Zenny Martinez, 37
Diagnosed with a rare cancer of certain immune cells when she was just one month old, Josema was successfully treated at Hospital de Clínicas, Asunción, Paraguay.
Jeerapat Pakdeechot, 9, with his grandfather, Narong Pakdeechot, 73
Photographed in their home in Thailand, Jeerapat is now cancer free after successful treatment for leukemia at the
Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Thailand.
Salma Benarbia, 11, with her mother, Fatna
In 2009, Salma Benarbia was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of childhood cancer that affects nerve cells. Her first round of treatment was successful, but in 2017, she relapsed and had to undergo another operation at Hôpital d’Enfants, Rabat, Morocco. It is hoped that Salma is now cancer free.
Liliana Blana Vera, 5, and her father, Siembra
When she was four, I took her to the hospital in Cali Colombia and there they diagnosed leukemia. Liliana, Siembra and her mother, Martitza, are now staying at the Fundación Carlos Portela, a center for families with children suffering from cancer, where they will remain throughout Liliana’s treatment. “She is happier here,” says Siembra, “because now she is getting better.”
Aner Alejandro Gonzalez Guejia, 3, with his mother, Alba Maria
During the two years of his treatment, Aner has been staying at the Fundación La Divina Providencia, Cali, Colombia.