LOOKING at the beautiful smile on little Kalli’s face, you wouldn’t think she underwent major surgery just weeks ago.
The two year-old’s family have said her resilient, happy nature is the thing that’s kept them going through her battle with a rare cancer.
Kalli, from Dorchester, has lost the equivalent of around one kidney after bilateral Wilms’ tumours – one the size of a grapefruit – were discovered last May.
The toddler has undergone two operations to remove the growths, as well as months of chemotherapy.
And her family are hoping that after completing the final rounds, Kalli will be clear by the summer. They want to thank the local community for its ‘overwhelming’ support after £2,000 was raised at an event in her honour.
‘Kalli’s Rainbow Party’ took place at Goldie’s in Dorchester and the funds will help give Kalli, her mum Jodie Critchell and dad Josh Wright a well-deserved break.
Because of the effect of chemotherapy on Kalli’s immune system, she has spent much of the last year isolated from other children.
Her family have also had to make many trips to Southampton Hospital and Great Ormond Street in London and dad Josh used up all his holiday allowance last year on hospital stays.
Mum Jodie said: “When the fundraising event was first planned by our friends and family, they didn’t know what we would have to use the money for.
“We thought we might have to get a new car because constantly driving to London and Southampton and back was taking its toll. The support has been overwhelming.”
The concerned parents first took Kalli to the GP early last year because they noticed she had a ‘bulging tummy’.
But when the doctors said nothing was wrong, Jodie couldn’t ignore her instinct.
So she and Josh took Kalli to Dorchester’s accident and emergency department one night, where she underwent an ultrasound and x-ray – and on Saturday morning she was admitted to Southampton, diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Jodie said: “We were in disbelief. Nobody expects that to happen to someone who is 18 months old.”
Kalli was initially only supposed to have one operation to remove the tumours on both kidneys – but it took so long she had to have two.
And despite expectations that it would take her a while to recover, Kalli was sitting up using Skype to talk to her family just hours after being on the operating table.
As Kalli laughed loudly and played with her doll, dad Josh said: “She has been like this the whole way through.
“I think that’s one of the things that has kept us going.”
The family wish to thank the Steve Charles Help a Friend Fund, Vanilla Radio and Phoebe Beer, everyone who attended the event or has made a donation to Kalli’s Just Giving page as well as the businesses who donated prizes to the raffle.
They have also thanked staff at Dorchester’s Kingfisher Ward who have been ‘amazing’ during Kalli’s period of treatment.
For more information, visit justgiving.com/kalli