Young cancer patient dies after celebrating her birthday
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16-year-old Shaniece Nanhoe during the early stages of her illness
16-year-old Shaniece Nanhoe during the early stages of her illness

By Naomi Parris
SIXTEEN-year-old Shaniece Nanhoe, who was battling a rare form of cancer, has succumbed. The teen was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), which is a rare type of cancer that forms in the soft tissue of one’s body.
Nanhoe was battling with the disease for some six months but, sadly, the fight came to an end on Tuesday, one day after she celebrated her birthday.
RMS forms in soft tissue, specifically skeletal muscle tissue or sometimes in hollow organs such as the head, bladder or uterus. RMS can occur at any age, but it most often affects children.
According to the teen’s mother, Shelly Balkarran, her eldest child—Shaniece– fell ill sometime in July 2020, but she thought it was a case of the common cold.
“I suggested that it was just a cold, so we watched it for a week; at that time the eye started to get more small and we saw that there was like a funny look in the eye and, after that, the jaw started to swell and we thought maybe she has an infection,” the mother related.

Shaniece Nanhoe and her mother, Shelly Balkarran, in happier times

The family visited two dentists and an optometrist who all treated the child for an infection with antibiotics, but after her condition worsened, she was rushed to the emergency ward where it was later discovered she had a tumor.
The following month, the family travelled to Jamaica where it was discovered that the tumor is cancerous. There, Balkarran noted that her daughter was given one dose of chemotherapy but, with limited money, the family was unable to continue the treatment.
Balkarran said she reached out to the Cancer Foundation here and returned home. The mother noted that her daughter’s body recently began to reject the chemotherapy, forcing her to reach out to the public for assistance.

However, after 16 rounds of Chemotherapy failed, the family was told by doctors that they would need $1.3M to begin radiation treatment as no other options are left.
“Three cycles ago, that is when we realised that the body is rejecting the chemo; that’s why we have no options. The cancer is now attacking her other eye but as a mother I have to try everything and I’m going to fight this.”
The woman disclosed that doctors had recently given up hope and had given her daughter up to Christmas Eve to live; however, she had not given up and was in the process of collecting funds to further seek treatments for her daughter.
Her optimism even grew after her child had exceeded the doctor’s expectation. Sadly, the teen passed away just after celebrating her 16th birthday.
Balkarran described Shaniece as a jovial, brave and very optimistic young woman.

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