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18-year-old seeks help for urgent medical treatment

Saturday 3 February 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Fiji, Health, Local, National, Regional


18-year-old seeks help for urgent medical treatment
Valyla Hickes. SUPPLIED/ 24020217

Fundraising efforts are underway to help 18-year-old Valyla Hickes get the medical treatment she needs in Fiji.

Valyla arrived in Rarotonga around 2010 and has been on the island studying and now working for the Bank of Cook Islands (BCI).

A week ago, Valyla and her family received the news that she had been diagnosed with lymphocytic leukaemia. She needs a referral to Fiji as soon as possible for urgent medical help.

Mum Marisha Fimone-Hickes could not hold her tears as she explained her daughter’s urgent medical need and how, as a mother, she is reminded of her faith.

Fimone-Hickes said that last week she noticed changes on her daughter’s upper body. She realised there was a lump, and they decided to have a medical check.

“We took her in (hospital) for check-up, they did not tell us right away, but they did the next day. They confirmed it was cancer, through a blood test, leukaemia.”

Valyla Hickes and family. SUPPLIED / 24020216

Fimone-Hickes said that, being a Fijian citizen, they had to get Valyla to Fiji as quickly as possible. She said the Prime Minister’s office has been assisting, as Valyla needs to transit through New Zealand to Fiji, and they hope to be in Fiji by next week.

“We have been in touch with doctors in Fiji … referral to Fiji is ready, we just waiting on her permits to fly out.”

Talking about her daughter, a tearful Fimone-Hickes says Valyla is strong and keeps reminding her to have faith.

“She is very strong; she keeps telling me to stop crying (and that) she will be ok.

“I have been praying, trying to hold my tears when I’m with her, and I have to tell myself to be strong, no matter what love the Lord."

Fimone-Hickes said that those who know her daughter, they know she is a quiet and helpful person. Valyla is the third eldest of six siblings, and she always looked after her younger siblings.

Valyla Hickes and family. SUPPLIED / 24020216

She said friends, families, and Valyla’s siblings have been supportive.

Fimone-Hickes added that they don’t know how much chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant would cost in Fiji and that they needed all the support they could get.

At the moment, she said they have received donations, and it has been overwhelming.

The family wishes to thank Valyla’s “hope warriors”, BCI, Rotaract, schools St. Joseph’s, Nukutere, Tereora College, Apii Nikao for their gold coin donation, Prime Foods, Dr. Mon and Dr. Mafi, the Hickes family, extended family, friends who have become family, the community, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Nikao CICC Church, the Cook Islands Rotuman Methodist Church and Polynesian Car Rental.

To help support her road to recovery, an account for anyone wishing to donate is open under her name: BCI Account: Valyla Hickes, Account number: 87645-S9. A Give a Little page titled “Saving Valyla” has also been created.

A fundraiser will be held today at Prime Foods, where there will be food sales from 8am.