Editorial: Sativa's family shared courage

By Dylan Thorne

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I was saddened to hear brave little Sativa Eagle passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer.

Sativa, aged 2, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when she was 4 months old.

Her battle, and her parents' willingness to share the ups and downs of their emotional journey, touched many in the community.

She was described as the girl who captured thousands of hearts. Her Facebook page attracted more than 5000 followers.

The Facebook page was started by a friend who sought to rally support behind the family but Sativa's mother, Sheree Roose, began posting regular updates after she realised their story could help raise public awareness about the deadly disease.

In her words the page is about: "Letting people know how this world does work. Before, we didn't know. We didn't know there were children dying around us. Child cancer exists. We are in the community, living under your noses."

The story they shared was deeply personal and encapsulated the struggle of a family finding their way through a terrifying reality. Thousands of families across the country face with the same terrible situation but few choose to open up and share such painful and personal moments.

In such times it is understandable for families to turn inward with their grief rather than reach out to others.

I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for Sativa's mother to post updates during times of despair when all hopes appeared dashed.

Sativa had numerous rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.

She seemed to be recovering until three days before the girls' second birthday, when the family was told the cancer was coming back at an alarming rate.

A second, desperate attempt at more bone marrow proved futile.

With a prognosis of only weeks to live, they took her home to die.

The couple shared details of her treatment, their children's birthdays, details of their home life and family photos of Sativa and her twin sister Indee.

The image that stands out to me is one of Sativa with the widest of smiles and full of joy. The only sign that she is battling cancer is a tube running from her nose.

As well as highlighting a deadly disease, the family also taught those following their battle you should cherish what is most important in life.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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