An aspiring nine-year-old rugby player, Fa’au’uga Folita Iosefo, has been given hope for cancer treatment in New Zealand.
This is largely thanks to the Samoa Observer’s Save the Child’s Fund and the generous support from businesses, families and members of the community who responded to the urgent request for help.
Fa’au’uga had recently been diagnosed with Stage 3 Acute Hodgkinson Lymphoma. He had received approval for overseas treatment under the Samoa Government Medical Treatment Scheme, which covers only the medical and hospital fees during treatment.
The timeframe they were given between diagnosis and travel to New Zealand was very small, and with little money on hand to pay for airfare and prepare her small family, Fa’au’uga’s parents, Tofilau Iosefo and Arieta Viliamu, set about seeking for help.
The Samoa Cancer Society (S.C.S.) responded with payment of Fa’auuga’s medical visa application fees and assistance with accommodation for Fa’au’uga and his parents while in New Zealand during their treatment appointments.
In addition, S.C.S. provided a supporting letter to the Samoa Observer’s ‘Save the Child’ Fund, requesting assistance to pay for a return Economy Flexi Airfare for young Fa’au’uga to get to New Zealand for his first appointment.
The Head of the Fund and Samoa Observer Publisher, Muliaga Jean Ash Malifa immediately approved and released the funds that ensured Fa’au’uga’s travel ticket.
Faauuga and his family are in New Zealand today.
Speaking from New Zealand, Fa’auuga’s mother, Arieta, expressed her sincere gratitude to the Samoa Observer ‘Save the Fund’ and the many people, groups, businesses and especially her families both in Samoa and overseas that came through for her son at the last minute.
It is early days yet to determine the next step of Faauuga’s treatment but Arieta asks to “keep the faith and uplift her son in prayers as well as the doctors to help Faauuga at this time.
“As parents, we would love for him to continue his education, pursue his interest in rugby and grow up like any normal kid.”
Faauuga has five siblings, four sisters and one brother.
He is expected to undergo treatment for 3 months at the Starship Hospital.
Hodgkinsons disease(HD) is a type of lymphoma, which is a blood cancer that starts in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system helps the immune system get rid of waste and fight infections.
HD originates in white blood cells that help protect you from germs and infections. These white blood cells are called lymphocytes. IN people with HG, these cells grow abnormally and spread beyond the lymphatic system. As the disease progress, it makes it more difficult for the body to fight infections.
The Save the Child’s Fund was started by the Samoa Observer with generous donations from members of the community to help needy families send their children overseas for medical treatment. One of the biggest donors is the family of the late Augustine Fuiavailili Fe'esago, who donate on a monthly basis.