So much love from a small heart

Katarzyna Dobrowolska

Kasia is 11 years old. Like other girls at her age she should run, play, go to school and ride a bike. She did all these things a year ago. Two sheets of paper are, you can say, her medical record of several months, story about a severe illness and growing hope, professional description of the child's condition, diagnoses and something else - dates (there are 12 dates), which described her consecutive operations. However, this is not enough to understand what happened.

Disease came all of a sudden

Kasia was a smart and cheerful child. She was the first to read in the church. She loved dancing and singing. Every Friday she stayed with her grandmother to go to a rehearsal of the children's parish choir 'Iskierki' in Wisniowka. She was very reasonable for her age. She changed after her First Communion. 'She decided to be better so much that it was visible at every turn. She apologized for even the slightest offence and she first offered her hand in reconciliation', her mother Jola Dworak says.
The disease came all of a sudden last spring. Kasia had problems with her sight. The consecutive examinations confirmed the diagnosis: pilocytic astrocytoma, tumour in temporo-parietal region,. It was a shock for Marian Dworak, Kasia's father. Nobody is prepared for such words. His wife did not understand the doctor's explanation. They went from the hospital in Lankiewicza Street in Kielce to the Polish Mother Health Centre in Lodz. Everything was unknown. Horror and fear. What kind of operation? What next? After the first operations her condition was serious. Her parents were not able to speak about that. Now they can. Kasia's father does not want to talk about his travel to Lodz. It will always remind him of the most difficult moments. 'I went to Lodz in one hour and a half. I do not even know how I could manage this. I am ashamed to admit this since it is unreasonable. I went there several dozen times. Sometimes even every day but usually two or three times a week. Jola was with her daughter all the time', Marian recollects. The diagnoses differed from week to week; some were dramatic, giving no hope although doctors did their best. 'No more evil can happen', they tried to explain the situation, believing that the recovery would come.

Scraps of good

During that time prayers of the parents and the people, they did not even know, well bombarded Heaven. The Dworaks experienced some support: a good word or small gestures of solidarity, for example collections in the school and in the parish, which were the reactions of the small and the grown-up who wanted to help as much as they could. The Dworaks are thankful to all people. 'We were not alone', they explain, 'The closest family is a great support in such moments'. 'Ewa, my sister, sacrifices all her weekends. She replaces me and is with Kasia. Then I can do the housework and care for children. They also need my care', Jola says. Mateusz, Agnieszka, Piotrus and Lukasz, Kasia's brothers and sister, long for her and are anxious for their little sister. There were new complications. The doctors did not even inform the parents about Kasia's meningitis. They will never forget another scene. Kasia was put into a coma so that her brain was not burdened after the operation. The swollen head of unconscious child; after the operation all access liquid was drained; her plaits were cut off, which was hard for the young doctor to tell her parents...


Could Kasia feel anything, e.g. pain or touch of her mother holding her hand? Could she hear? The condition of a coma has various phases. In fact, it is still a great mystery. What does Jola remember when she was at her daughter's bed? Prayers for strength when the girl's temperature reached 40 degrees, all the apparatus sustaining life and the moment when Kasia stopped breathing. 'Then my heart stopped, too', she says. No parent can understand suffering but the one who experiences the same and that's why mutual support in the hospital is helpful. However, the reality of intensive care unit is very hard. 'It is most difficult to find strength when you see an empty bed which was occupied by a little patient the previous night and whose face looked at all who were there. In this feeling of helplessness and rebellion there are also questions to God: Why innocent children?

Hope and faith are stronger than despair

'One should fight and do not give up', the girl's parents repeat. She woke up after several weeks. First she moved her right toe. Then other functions returned. 'We longed to hear her voice after so many weeks', the parents dreamt. 'The thing is that...' Kasia's first words. Jola remembered well. She spoke clearly and carefully. They were glad to see any sign of recovery. These were unforgettable moments. They also remembered the moment when Kasia began clapping her hands when Agnieszka stopped playing the guitar, she played a carol. Then first steps, counting, Kasia utters more and more words and speaks more clearly. But her memory is still lost.
A physiotherapist comes three times a week. The doctors are astonished to see her recovery although the treatment is still going to be very long.
The tumour is an obstacle, it presses on the nerves and Kasia cannot see. What way to choose? Medicine is making progress in oncological treatment. There are new methods and less and less invasive way to destroy cancer. Kasia's parents are constantly looking for such solutions. Money is needed, too. Daily life is a continuous battle but it is a mutual struggle and that gives strength. Suffering of a child changes life. The hierarchy of values is changed.
'Although you are paralysed when you hear the diagnosis: actually cancer is not a death sentence', they say. And by saying this they encourage others who also fight for their children's lives and health. How to deal with your child's suffering? What encourages parents? 'In spite of pain, various limitations and lost of sight Kasia is still cheerful, does not complain, does not cry' her parents say. When she is with her mother at home they sing songs. Kasia always says she loves her parents, her brothers and her sister. 'Even when she sits with us she always hugs us and repeats 'I love you, daddy, I love you mummy...'

If you want to help Kasia you can send money to:
BPH II Oddzial Kielce
or phone +48 41- 301-13-12

"Niedziela" 27/2006

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: