‘Courageous Caitie’, girl with rare blood cancer, passes away
Caitlin Lucas, the 3-year-old girl who inspired many Filipinos for her fighting spirit despite suffering from a rare blood cancer, passed away on Thursday.
A photo of her with her parents was posted in the “Courageous Caitie” Facebook page with the caption “Today our daughter has gone to Jesus already.”
Lucas’ story became viral on social media after her mother started a Facebook page about her mysterious illness, which prompted them to fly to Singapore in February.
It was there that she was diagnosed with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML), a rare cancer that affects only one in a million children in the US. Earlier reports said there is no known treatment for the illness.
It was only on New Year’s Day when Lucas was hospitalized because of severe abdominal pain. Months before that, her skin had marks that looked like insect bites. It became lesions and soon she was suffering from life-threatening symptoms such as enlarged spleen and liver.
Her Facebook page, maintained by her mother Christine Del Feliz Lucas, chronicles Lucas’ courageous fight for her life. The posts attracted netizens who offered prayers and gifts after being inspired by the child’s cheerful disposition.
She got a definite diagnosis after going through several excision biopsies, blood extractions and bone marrow aspirations.
On Thursday morning, her mother posted that Lucas has been having a difficult time breathing since the night before. She said they decided to intubate her and put her to sleep to avoid discomfort.
“This is the last time I saw Caitie’s eyes [completely] open last night. Asking for prayers right now, today she will be sedated and put on a tube to stabilize her because of her high respiratory rate,” she later posted.
Minutes later she posted that the child was in critical condition and that her oxygen level is not going up.
“Let your will be done,” the post after that said.
The page’s last post is a photo of Lucas and her parents smiling. “Our last family pic with eyes open and smiling despite running after her [breath]. It is well. You were awesome my daughter,” her mother posted. CDG
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.