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Ketanthi's Road to Remission

ketanthi playroomDiagnosis

‘In the Summer of 2022, Ketanthi began complaining of sore heads and sore eyes and was vomiting after meals.’

‘She took Covid during this time, so we initially put her symptoms down to that.’

‘As her symptoms persisted, I eventually took her to A&E at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.’

‘Basic neurological assessments revealed nothing obvious.’

‘We were then referred to the optician, who recommended Ketanthi undergo an MRI scan.’

‘Thanks to Lynn McGinley, the MRI coordinator at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Ketanthi's MRI was brought forward by two weeks, to the 20th of September 2022.’

‘An hour into the MRI scan, we were called into a room by Dr Sangra, Consultant Paediatric Neurosurgeon and Craniofacial Surgeon at the Royal Hospital for Children.’

‘The utter shock and disbelief of what he said will live with me forever. I couldn't believe it - Ketanthi had a medulloblastoma tumour.’

Anushi, Ketanthi’s Mum

‘The tumour was causing a lot of fluid to build up in her brain, a condition called hydrocephalus.’

‘Dr Sangra explained that this was the immediate problem and that she could become acutely unwell if the fluid wasn't drained, so he asked for our permission to do this immediately while she was still under sedation for the MRI.’

‘We agreed straight away, signing all the relevant paperwork, and Dr Sangra went back in to perform the surgery.’

‘Six hours later, we were reunited with Ketanthi in the recovery area. I’ll never forget the sight of her. Our little girl had her hair shaven with a tube at the side of her head where the fluid had been drained.'

'Despite this, she was sitting upright and carefully colouring-in with accuracy.’

‘I couldn't believe that someone who had undergone such invasive surgery in the previous eight hours hours, was sitting up and colouring-in with such precision.’

Anushi, Ketanthi’s Mum

‘After the surgery to drain the fluid from her head, Ketanthi spent a week in Ward 3A to recover.’

Ketanthi hosp early‘The nurses on 3A looked after her so well in particular, Antonia, who Ketanthi loved.’

‘We started calling Antonia the chicken nugget lady, as she was the first person to introduce Ketanthi to them. I think she was convinced Antonia was making them herself!’

‘The hospital Play Service was also a huge support to Ketanthi during long stays in hospital.’

‘She loved going to the playroom and doing all of the arts and crafts that they brought in for her.’

ketanthi‘All of the staff were so professional and made sure that Ketanthi was as comfortable as possible. The fact that they were so attentive helped reduce our stress.’

The Little Ballerina

‘Ketanthi had just started ballet in August 2022 and her ballet teacher was complimenting her on her grace and poise and how well co-ordinated she was.’

‘It’s hard to believe a month later then, she was diagnosed with this brain tumour that was sitting at the back of the cerebellum, the very part of the brain that controls your balance and co-ordination!’

‘She was really into ballet at this point, so when the Scottish Ballet came to visit the hospital in December 2022, she was so excited.’

ketanthi ballet original

‘It was quite cold and wet outside, so Ketanthi had on her outdoor waterproofs and her stripey welly boots and was not looking very ballerina-like!’

Anushi, Ketanthi’s Mum

‘The charity posted a lovely video of the visit on their TikTok page; we watched that video over and over and sent it to so many people.’

‘I downloaded TikTok to be able to access the video, and to read the hundreds of lovely comments, which accompanied it. I found these really uplifting at a difficult time.’

tiktok screenshotAfter hearing Ketanthi's story, The Scottish Ballet kindly gifted Ketanthi and her family tickets to their Christmas show, Cinders! during their recent visit to the hospital in December 2023.

Ketanthi was dressed for the occassion this time, in a pink tutu, leotard and ballet pumps...

ketanthi ballet 2023...but she still brought her signature rainbow wellies!

ketanthi wellies now

"Being able to share an experience from the ballet with young patients like Ketanthi is so special, and made us feel part of something bigger than what we do on stage."

Bethany Kingsley-Garner, Principal Dancer AT Scottish Ballet

'Ketanthi showed us such passion with dance a year ago when she taught us how to turn in her gorgeous rainbow wellies! This year we got to invite her to the ball so that she can share it with us at the theatre.'

ballet invitation 3

"To be able to bring a little bit of joy and a lot of sparkle to children and their families at Christmas is such a magical experience. Sharing giggles and dancing together will always feel like the best gift for me, that’s the reason I love my profession. The icing on the cake was seeing Ketanthi’s beautiful smile again and twirling through the hospital with her, making this year’s visit even more special." 

Grace Horler, Soloist dancer at scottish ballet


‘In January 2023, Ketanthi started her chemotherapy cycle at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.’

‘Doctor Sastry, Consultant Paediatric Oncologist, was introduced to us at that point.’

‘He co-ordinated a 9-month plan for Ketanthi to go through chemotherapy on the Schiehallion Wards (Wards 2A and 2B).’

‘The Schiehallion Wards became a second home to us, with staff exuding warmth, patience, and professionalism. Beyond medical care, the hospital staff created an environment that felt like a supportive workplace.’

Ketanthi wheelchair‘Everybody regardless of their role was always very friendly and talkative, and it was almost a pleasure to walk into those wards.’

‘In between hospital stays, Karen Marshall, who was the Paediatric Oncology Outreach Nurse Specialist (POONS), would visit us at home.’

‘She would come out every week to the house to change Ketanthi's dressings, flush her lines and take her bloods and we built up a very good relationship with her.’

‘I cannot fault the care that Ketanthi has received. The joined-up thinking, the way everything was so well co-ordinated from start to finish with Ketanthi has been brilliant.’

Anushi, Ketanthi’s Mum

‘On the 6th September, we attended the Schiehallion Family Day organised by Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity, an annual trip for children who have battled cancer to visit the Scottish mountain that gave the ward its name.’

ketanthi schiehallion day

Ketanthi had a great time at basecamp, where Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity ran a series of adventurous activities including tree planting, marshmallow toasting over campfires, den building, face-painting and storytelling.

ketanthi face paint‘Two days later, Ketanthi’s 9-month-long chemotherapy cycle finally ended.’

‘We chose the 20th of September as the date for Ketanthi to ring the end of treatment bell as that was the day that Dr Sangra first discovered the tumour.’

‘I was so happy that Dr Sangra was able to be there to ring the bell with Ketanthi.’

Giving Back

‘Ketanthi and I were supposed to take part in the Great Scottish Run in October 2022 - she was going to do the kid's run and I was going to do the half marathon - but as she fell ill, we put it off.’

‘This year, because Ketanthi was nearly through her treatment, I decided I would do the half marathon for Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity with one of my colleagues.’

‘I was determined to give something back as a thank you for the incredible service we've received at Glasgow Children’s Hospital.’

‘I hadn’t been running for a little while, as I was recovering from a hysterectomy performed in May, so it was virtually couch to half marathon training that I was doing!’

‘As well as raising vital funds for the charity, training for the half marathon also provided me with some release from the situation at home with Ketanthi and other family members who were undergoing chemotherapy.’

Anushi, Ketanthi’s Mum

ketanthi GSR‘We managed to complete Great Scottish Run Half Marathon in 2 hours 23 minutes and Ketanthi was there to cheer us over the line.’

‘I’m delighted to say we raised £2175 for Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.’

'After seeing the excellent care Ketanthi has received at the children's hospital, one of our family friend's, Michelle Williams, also felt moved to fundraise.'

'She recently organised two charity nights which raised £2500 for the Schiehallion Wards in the Royal Hospital for Children.'

In January 2024, Michelle, Anushi and Ketanthi visited the staff on 2A to present a cheque with their combined fundraising total of £4675.

Ketanthi ‘Treated like Royalty’

‘Thanks to funding provided by Marion's Still Smiling, Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity recently organised for Ketanthi and I to have an overnight stay in Edinburgh to celebrate her being cancer-free.’

‘The staff at the Waldorf Astoria bent over backwards to accommodate all of our requests and went out of their way to make Ketanthi feel special.’

‘When we arrived, the friendly concierge took us on a tour of the hotel, explaining its history and introducing us to all of the staff.’

‘We then enjoyed afternoon tea, before heading down to the hotel spa where Ketanthi enjoyed having her nails painted.’

ketanthi nails‘For the first time in a whole year, she was also able to don her swimming costume, walk in the pool up to knee level and dangle her legs in the jacuzzi.’

‘We were treated like royalty.’

Anushi, Ketanthi’s Mum

ketanthi tea‘They even upgraded our room to the best suite in the house, which has been graced by the likes of film stars Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor, and more recently popstars like Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift.’

‘Of course, Ketanthi had no clue who Elizabeth Taylor was, but she did focus on Taylor Swift!’

ketanthi bed teddy‘The room was fantastic. As soon as we walked in, they'd kitted it out as if Santa had been there, with a mountain of toys for Ketanthi to take home.’

‘We had an absolutely fantastic experience, and the trip was an amazing way to celebrate the end of Ketanthi’s year-long battle with cancer.’

‘Although I wouldn’t wish the year we’ve had on anyone, one of the silver linings to Ketanthi being ill is that our bond is now stronger than ever due to the amount of time we’ve spent together.’

Life Now

‘Ketanthi had her 6-week MRI scan at the end of October, and I'm pleased to say that everything is clear.’

‘Ketanthi is cancer free and is now in complete remission.’

Anushi, Ketanthi’s Mum

‘I want to pay a special thanks to Lynn McGinley, the MRI co-ordinator, for making sure Ketanthi was seen so quickly, as the early detection of the tumour was crucial to Ketanthi’s survival.’

‘Ketanthi started school in August and received an excellent first school report commenting on her sound ability with numbers, letters and social skills.’

ketanthi school‘Ketanthi found solace in the library and arts and crafts during her time in hospital, which she continues to enjoy.'

'She's enjoying play dates and will very shortly re-start swimming, a sport which she had to give up during to her cancer treatment.'

KETANTHI woodland

‘She's just loving life!’

Anushi, Ketanthi’s Mum

‘Ketanthi’s remission status is down to the collective effort of the staff at the Children’s Hospital.'

'They co-ordinated her whole treatment plan, from start to finish and took great care of her during her year-long battle with cancer.’

‘The Schiehallion family kept her going during the gruelling sessions and the person she is today is partially as a result of their encouragement.'

'She is alive and I’m eternally grateful to every single person who played their part in ensuring that she gets her chance to make her mark on this world.’