Fatemah is 14 years old and lives in Kuwait with her parents, twin sister and her new kitten, Silver. She was admitted to University College Hospital under the care of Dr Maria Michelagnioli after being diagnosed with a sarcoma.

“It was one night when I felt a small lump in my back”, said Fatemah. “I asked my mother to take a look and she said there was something there, so went to my local hospital in Kuwait where they started to do some tests.”

Fourteen days later, Fatemah was diagnosed with sarcoma, a type of cancer that appears in connective tissue. Her parents then started to research the best hospital for sarcoma treatment.

“We were initially considering France for her treatment”, said Fatemah’s father, Adil. “However, when I spoke to our sponsors, they strongly recommended Dr Maria Michelagnioli at University College Hospital, as she was recognised to be one of the best consultants in the world for teenagers with sarcoma.

“Initially I was really worried about coming to London. But the team here at University College Hospital really helped us. We had struggled with how we would tell Fatemah about her cancer diagnosis, as we hadn’t spoken to her about it much before we arrived, but we were really helped through this process. After the initial shock and tears, she has coped with it so well.”

Fatemah underwent 14 rounds of chemotherapy. After the 11th session, there was good news and the size of the tumour had significantly decreased. At this point, it was decided that she should undergo surgery, which was also very successful.

The family remained under the care of Dr Maria Michelagnioli (or Dr Maria, as she is known) throughout.

“I have never met a doctor like Dr Maria”, said Adil. “She understands exactly how to speak with the children. She is amazing. In fact, all the staff are amazing. Fatemah had a favourite nurse called Mariann who we called her Angel of Mercy. They were always so happy to see each other. Everyone is so kind. We feel like we are at home here.”

The family also have plenty of praise for the Arabic advocate team. “The Arabic advocate, especially Venus, have been an incredible support to my daughter, my wife and myself”, said Adil. “They were always available to answer our questions and help us during our time here.”

After three further rounds of chemotherapy (and a short precautionary stay in hospital with COVID), Fatemah is now well enough to return home, and is especially excited to spend time with her new cat, Silver.

“I am feeling so much better now”, she said. “For anyone in my position who is going through something similar, I would like to say stay strong. Believe that there are people out there that can help.”