Brave Little Flower
“Even the littlest flower can withhold a storm”
My little niece, Alyshana Ariel was diagnosed with thalassemia major at the age of 1 year 9 months. Children born with thalassemia usually develop the symptoms of severe anaemia within the first year of their life. They lack the ability to produce normal, adult haemoglobin and experience chronic fatigue. They may also fail to thrive, but luckily my niece had her early treatments.
My little niece had her weekly transfusion, and I remember when she used to cry so much when the doctors poked needles in her. Having sufficient blood packs in the blood bank was difficult, my sister had to spread the news about her daughter, pleading for friends and family to help donate blood to my little niece, luckily for us, we have a big family and my sister have amazing friends. News spread like wildfire, and soon a lot of people knew about Ariel.
The first time Ariel went for blood transfusion, she was scared, only a child at 1 year 9 months. When the doctors poked he with needles she couldn’t stop crying, but nonetheless, her mother hug her and told her that everything was going to be okay and that she has to be brave. As time goes, Ariel grew stronger and braver, every week when the doctors poke her with needles, she would cry less and less up to the extent where she would just extend her hand and smile as the doctor poke her with needles. She would constantly say to her mother “Mum, I’ll be brave” with a beautiful smile. It was moving to see a little girl going through pain but still manage to plant a smile on her face.
On this coming 1st November, Ariel would be 3 years old, and she is currently in the hospital waiting for her bone marrow transplant. Here is a fun fact about bone marrow transplant, you need to find a donor with close match to the patient, and luckily for Ariel, her older 9 years old sister is willing to be the donor, Alysha Dania. When my sister had to break the news to her eldest daughter, Alysha was scared. Of course having to go through a surgery at a very young age was scary but Alysha wanted to help Ariel, due to the love a big sister has towards her little sister, Alysha was willing to go through the surgery because she didn’t want Ariel to be in pain again. My sister constantly reminded her eldest daughter that she was the “super hero” in the family. Some people provoke Alysha to turn down being the donor, but she was determine with her decision. The strong loving bond between the eldest and youngest sister is very hard to break.
“Side by side, or miles apart, sisters will always be connected by the heart.”
I visited my little niece from time to time, and she was always happy - always smiling, always lovely.
I love my niece dearly and I remember when my sister announced the news about Ariel’s bone marrow transplant, I instantly called my sister and cried. I shed tears, tears of joy because I know how difficult it was to get in the list for bone marrow transplant and after months of waiting they were finally in the list. But I also shed tears because I was scared, scared because going through a transplant always have different outcome - I didn’t want to lose my little niece. As an aunt I was already scared, and as for my sister, the mother, she was more terrified. However that didn’t stop her, she prayed and asked for support from her family.
Everyone in the family was scared; accept for one, Ariel herself. Ariel knew what she had to go through and yet she could still smile and laugh, because she knew going through this transplant would indeed make her feel better.
My last visit to Ariel, I hugged her and told her I was scared. I’m a 19 year old and she’s only 3 years old yet I was more afraid then she was, I cried as I hugged her, told her that I miss her and am so afraid to lose her. Ariel look at me and said “It’s okay; don’t cry Nina Anette [Me]. I’ll be okay” she smiled up to me and it made me cry even more. I admire Ariel, I admire how she could still smile radiantly and her eyes filled with sunshine. Ariel’s chemotherapy would start within a few days, and yes I would be afraid but I constantly tell myself, if Ariel can be brave, so can I.
“The doors will be open to those who are bold enough to knock.”
My sister always shares about her daughter’s development on Facebook or Instagram, and little did she know, the story of Ariel touched so many people’s heart. And so here I am, sharing the story of my little niece hoping to inspire more people, to be brave and help those who are in need.