News and Stories


October 14, 2021

Raya’s Story

Raya was living a seemingly normal life for a four year old girl. She went to pre-school, dance classes, swimming lessons and spent most of her time playing with her two older siblings.

And then on Thursday 18th February, she was diagnosed with Leukemia.

The year before her diagnosis was spent trying to uncover what was causing her random, unexplained fevers and why her immune system was unusually weak.

The answer was not expected, at all. Your daughter has leukemia!

I still have trouble comprehending the reality of those words and often feel like I am living an alternate reality which I am waiting to wake up from.

We are over 5 months into Raya’s treatment and a Bone Marrow Transplant awaits her this August. Over the course of her treatment at Westmead Hospital, Raya has lived up to her name. A little bundle of sunshine, a social butterfly and a sweet and bubbly personality that has made her quite a popular among new friends, nurses and doctors.

Raya loves to play dress ups and immerse herself in art and craft activities. She is an expert at hide and seek and is often caught singing songs with great fervour.

She has an extensive play list that she loves to listen to, which we also draw on when she needs cheering up. Raya can often be found playing with her toy kitchen, creating amazing table spreads for her customers. Her social nature means she loves to video call her friends and family when she is in hospital and she loves hanging out with the captains from the Starlight Room.

Her favourite thing to do in the whole world is to spend time with her older sister and brother. Raya’s vibrant and fierce joy for life is contagious and she gives others around her strength and courage. One day I will tell her that she was the one who helped me stay brave and strong through the most challenging time of our lives.

Grace Joukhadar – 24 July 2021