Add a comment
Inna Dragun, born in 24.10.2002
Diagnoses: Metastasized lung carcinoma.
Valentina Dragun, mother of a large family, asks for help and support:
“As all families, we face difficulties every day. We try to solve them ourselves because we know that life in our united family depends on us. But some problems are quite unexpected, especially concerning a child's health and life. February 2017 completely changed life for our large family.”
That was when her middle daughter Inna had a routine Mantoux screening for tuberculosis. Her body’s reaction worried the doctors. The phthisiologic pulmonologist sent Inna to a tuberculosis sanatorium where treatment was promptly initiated. Heavy drug dosages caused severe nausea and terrible leg pain. Inna, who is always active and cheerful, did not lose her upbeat mood, even when her schoolmates turned away from her calling her by an abusive name. At the sanatorium, she found many new and supportive friends who themselves had been rejected by others.
For six months Inna kept a positive attitude, hoping for improvement. Even when new symptoms arose — a serious cough and persistent elevated temperature of 37.7°C — doctors had no doubts that all symptoms were of tuberculosis.
All that aside, Inna was dreaming of the future where she is at the graduation party and about applying to and attending college. All her dreams seemed on track to realization. Inna hung on even when she was rejected for college because of TB treatment, and when being photographed was her only graduation party. She did not give up when an oncologist came and she was transferred to the Zaporizhzhia Regional Children's Hospital.
Diagnostic tests revealed that the disease was not tuberculosis. She underwent a six-hour operation to remove a tumor from her left lung. The biopsy yielded a new diagnosis.
In December 2018, she was sent to Kyiv to clarify the diagnosis and develop a treatment plan. After 4 visits in Kyiv, the diagnosis was confirmed: mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the lung, 4th degree. This diagnosis is rare among oncology patients (though more common among adults over 40 years old). Doctors found that the surgery hadn’t removed all the tumor, and with the delayed diagnosis, the malignancy increased and metastasized through her lungs.
Mother Valentina said: "The diagnosis of lung cancer sounded like a death sentence. Inna continued to hold on and did not lose heart. Her school friends heard that she had cancer and began to visit her. Despite her illness, Inna continued to joke: “Will my hair fall out? Will you buy me a beautiful headscarf of my choosing?” My heart was breaking: “It won't fall out! And if your hair falls out after chemotherapy, I will buy the most beautiful scarf!”
Older sister Ilona: “My younger sister is the kindest and sweetest girl! From the moment of her birth she became for me a bright ray of light! I remember her first steps and first words. Inna is a young positive thinker! To me, she is more like a daughter than just a sister. She loves to help Mom with our youngest sisters. Inna grew up very sensible and determined. She is very athletic, cheerful, and a good friend to all her friends! At only 16 years old, she has big plans for the future and
bright dreams. My sister loves cooking and making tasty surprises for her family. Unfortunately, her serious illness makes it difficult, but she is a fighter! We all love and support her very much! We pray and hope for the help of all those who care about the future of this bright angel.”
Everyone has one chance in a million. With the right treatment, even person with such a diagnosis has chance to significantly improve life and make it longer. And this treatment requires huge funds! Where can family with three small children get them? Father is the only employed person, and mother is at home with the youngest disabled child.
A course of chemotherapy with pembrolizumab (Keytruda) costs about $7700 USD.
Inna needs three courses. The family’s hope is for a miracle and for you, our caring and sensitive friends!
Until funds for treatment are raised, Inna is at home. She suffers from a bad cough; she drinks painkillers and tries to stay positive. Now the main goal for her is to recover soon, and after it she will create more wonderful plans for the future!
The family lives in Zaporizhzhia.
For more information, please contact the staff of the Happy Child Foundation.
Report on donations