This fund is set up in memory of our daughter Ada Joyce Snell who was beautiful inside and out.
Ada was born on the 5th of October 2020; she was so small and perfect and completed our family of four. We didn’t know whether we were having a boy or girl, but I was convinced we were having another boy for Teddy to play with. When Ada arrived, we were so shocked and pleased that we now had a little girl to join the family. Teddy was thrilled to have a little sister.
It was in March 2021 that our world came crashing down when I spotted some blood when changing Ada’s nappy. She was just 5 months old when I took her to our local hospital to get checked out. My heart broke that day when on examination the doctor told me he could feel a large mass on her left kidney.
I could tell from the look on his face that this was not going to be good news and we were transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital for more tests.
The diagnosis was confirmed 2 weeks later after numerous tests and biopsies. We were told that Ada had an aggressive rhabdoid tumour of the left kidney. The tumour measured 9cm by 8cm and by this point the tumour had spread to her lymph nodes. On a positive note, it had not spread to her brain. During all of this we were alone due to COVID, and my partner was only allowed in for the diagnosis where we were told that the chances of survival were very low.
Ada immediately started chemotherapy and after 2 rounds they did a scan that showed the tumour had shrunk by half which shocked the consultants and gave us all hope. She went on to have 4 more rounds of chemotherapy and was ready for stem cell harvest. The next step was surgery to remove the kidney and remove any other small tumours. We had hope once again that our little girl could survive this.
Despite all this treatment; the numerous MRIs; the insertion of a double Hickman line and stem cell harvest, Ada took it all in her stride. She was a happy little baby despite all of that. She never cried, she never moaned and her strength and determination to fight this disease was amazing only for her to lose her life; that is what has truly broken my heart.
The week before surgery in June 2021 when she was just 8 months old the doctors decided to do another scan. To our horror and disbelief, our world crashing down around us once again. They had found 2 new tumours and the chemotherapy was no longer working. There was nothing more they could do for her.
We decided to take Ada home as she had spent most of her life in hospital and we were not going to let her die there not being able to see her loving family at home. Ada spent the remaining time she had at home surrounded by love and familiar things, not the nurses in masks and noisy machines.
Ada died just 3 weeks later, on Saturday the 3rd of July 2021, just 2 days short of reaching 9 months of age. She died in my arms surrounded by the ones that loved her. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to experience and will never forget. She has left a huge hole in our lives and hearts; but I feel so blessed that we had her for as long as we did.
Every day is a struggle without her, but she was my best friend and my little princess. Life must go on for Teddy he needs his mum and dad; Ada would want us to give Teddy who is now 3 years old the best life. We will always talk about his brave little sister that is in heaven with the angels.
We have decided to set up this fund in her memory as a legacy for Ada and to raise awareness of these rare childhood cancers. It is also something for her brother Teddy to see when he gets a little older to remember his brave sister and all the money she has and will raise for this charity.
No parent should ever have to experience the loss of a child.
I have also attached a letter that I wrote to Ada that was read at her funeral.
A letter from Mummy
These words are hard to write as the tears fall down my face. The pain I feel is unbearable since I lost my beautiful baby girl that day. There are no words to describe how much joy you brought to our lives but you left us too soon before you had your chance to truly shine.
You came into this world that day so small and full of love; little did we know then what was next for us to come. You became my best friend in a place no child should ever be but I watched you grow and blossom, but God had chosen differently.
You never complained or moaned during the treatment you endured. You were stronger than a lion and resilient to the core.
Your smile would light up a room and your eyes melted my heart. Everyone said how beautiful and strong you were they were right you were a star.
You are beautiful inside and out; I knew that from the start. I won’t get to see you grow which is what is breaking my heart. I miss your smell, your touch and the way we snuggled together, our faces touching as we slept, I will remember that forever.
You have taken a large part of my heart and I wouldn’t have it any other way, as when we meet again in heaven, we will then be whole again.
I love my Ada princess and we will snuggle once again, sleep tight my beautiful baby girl mummy will be with you once again.