Myah Tasker (6) shows off some of the 1100 beads she has collected. Each one represents a treatment, procedure or medicine she has had to take as part of her treatment for cancer. Photo by Dan Hutchinson
Mosgiel girl Myah Tasker is just 6-years-old, she has
survived two battles with cancer and is now donating her time
to help other sick children.
Doctors first noticed a lump on Myah's kidney before she was
born, when her mother Denise Tasker was 36 weeks pregnant.
Her birth date was bought forward and at just five weeks old
Myah had surgery to remove a kidney. By nine weeks she was
Thankfully, by the time she was one, there was no sign of the
Wilms tumour - the most common type of tumour in children and
one with a very good chance of being completely cured.
''We thought we were in the clear but we considered ourselves
lucky. We thought we were one of the lucky families,'' Mrs
The family moved from Christchurch to Dunedin after the
February 2011 earthquake but later that year they found the
cancer had returned.
Myah had to return to Christchurch for more surgery and
months of debilitating chemotherapy.
''She is so strong and so inspirational really.
''She will go into things and say 'no hurts mum, just
tickles'. I know if you or I were to have it done it would
absolutely sting . . . she is just incredible.''
She finished her treatment in September last year and the
doctors are hopeful it will not return. The relapse was a
result of cells left behind when her kidney was removed as a
Myah is almost fully recovered from her treatment and has
been chosen as one of three Child Cancer Foundation ''stars''
in New Zealand.
Her image will appear in promotional material and posters for
the annual ''Beads of Courage'' fundraising day on March 22.
Mrs Tasker said the foundation had provided good support for
herself and family, including husband Steve Tasker and their
other two children Liam (4) and Ewan (2).
''They have been amazing. If you ever needed support, just to
talk to someone, they are always available and always
Practical help like petrol and food vouchers was also really
''Not only is it a shock for a family when they find out
their child has cancer, but a lot of the time you are down to
one income so it is really hard.''
She was aware of people who had gone to the hospital in
Dunedin for tests, and immediately been sent to Christchurch
for treatment, sometimes not getting home for months.