Girl, 11, diagnosed with rare cancer just a day after she started school: 'She is a very sweet girl'

Justin Chan
·2 min read

An 11-year-old British-Filipina girl who was excited to start her first day of secondary school was diagnosed with a rare cancer just 24 hours later, according to the Mirror.

Earlier this year, Kirsten Fajardo, of Wakefield, reportedly complained of headaches, vomiting and blurred vision. Though her condition got worse, neither she nor her family realized the severity of her situation until earlier this month.

On September 4, the 11-year-old allegedly complained about double vision in both of her eyes. When her parents, Jeffrey and Liza Fajardo, took her to a hospital eye clinic, the medical staff there noticed an issue with her left eye. The next day, Kristen received an MRI scan, which revealed a tumor on her brain stem.

Kirsten was then transferred to another hospital, where additional scans showed that she, in fact, had diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG)— a tumor that accounts for between 10 and 20 percent of all childhood brain tumors, according to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Symptoms of DIPG include problems with balance, walking, chewing and swallowing.

Two days later, Jeffrey and Liza, who also have a 19-year-old son, learned that their daughter's tumor is inoperable.

"She is a very sweet girl and caring and loving," Liza told the Mirror. "When I'm sad, she will comfort me. She loves to hug and hugs everyone."

Kirsten, who has been confined to a wheelchair, now has to undergo six weeks of oral chemotherapy and radiotherapy to shrink the tumor. Though she has been unable to return home, her mother said that she has just one request.

"Her only wish is to fly to the Philippines to see all her relatives," Liza said.

A GoFundMe has since been created to support the 11-year-old as she begins her treatment.

"Liza and Kirsten's brother Sean wish to make the next few months as happy as they can be and are asking for help to raise funds to do as much as possible with her," the page reads.