Ep. 12: Kafia's Fight Story

Kafia Ibrahim is a two-time childhood cancer survivor turned childhood cancer nurse. Inspired by her journey with cancer, Kafia went on to pursue a career as a nurse. Now, Kafia works in the hematology/oncology department at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids).
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At only eight years old, Kafia was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer form in the soft tissue. Immediately, Kafia underwent several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Then, six years later, she unexpectedly relapsed, just days before her Grade 8 graduation.
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Ultimately, doctors attributed Kafia's relapse to the radiation she received during her initial diagnosis. The radiation treatment caused a mutation that made her cancer come back. Again, Kafia underwent treatment, including surgery and chemotherapy. Thankfully, Kafia has been cancer-free ever since.
Kafia doesn't remember much from her first diagnosis. However, she does remember the integral role POGO played in her journey. Specifically, Kafia's POGO Interlink Nurse, Tina, served as an invaluable resource and role model for Kafia.
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Kafia recalls Tina coming over to their house after she was first diagnosed. Tina helped Kafia's family fill out various community and financial services forms. She recalls how patient Tina was. Also, she remembers the sense of relief that Tina provided her Mom, helping her navigate all her stressors - like, how they would pay for all Kafia's meds and travel expenses. Kafia is one of five children. Her Mom had a lot to navigate. Thankfully, she had the support of POGO and their Interlink Nurse, Tina.
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Tina also helped Kafia sign up for Campfire Circle, formerly Camp Ooch. This experience was an outstanding experience for Kafia. Kafia went to Campfire Circle for 11 years. She made lifelong friends.
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The second diagnosis was even more challenging. Kafia missed a lot of her Grade 9 year while receiving treatment. Then she was immediately thrown back into Grade 10 while catching up on all her missed Grade 9 courses. She was drowning in work while also dealing with pain and mental health challenges.
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Thankfully, once again, Kafia had the support of POGO. Kafia's POGO Counsellor, Lucy, was extremely helpful. She served as an external guidance counsellor for Kafia, helping her apply for university and to receive the proper accommodations.
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Kafia's journey with cancer undoubtedly inspired her to become a nurse. Throughout her journey, she had many positive and negative experiences with nurses. Many nurses were sweet and supportive of Kafia; however, there were also nurses with whom she had negative experiences. Ultimately, Kafia wanted to do better. She wanted to be able to relate with her patients to help them.
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Now, Kafia does precisely that. Specifically, Kafia related to her teenage patients. She understands how hard it can be to go through this experience at an old age. It is easy for teenagers to feel forgotten. Kafia does her best to ensure her patients are not left feeling this way.
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Nurses will significantly influence a patient's experience with their disease. Kafia understands her ability to impact a patient's harrowing journey positively. She is committed to this. Kafia works tirelessly daily to make her patients feel understood and supported.
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Undoubtedly, the most challenging part of Kafia's career is the experience of death. It will never get easier. Saying goodbye to someone you have built such a unique bond with is the hardest part, by far. And it always will be.
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In contrast, Kafia finds great reward in her ability to help and support families. She finds great comfort when parents and families thank her for helping them on this journey. Every family that Kafia works with, she treats as her own.
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Kafia embodies the spirit of empathy. Kafia works daily to provide comfort to families embarking on this unimaginable journey. Please join us in congratulating Kafia on all her success and thanking her for her unwavering commitment to social good. Thank you, Kafia.
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Kafia's Story on Apple Podcasts 
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Kafia's Story on Spotify

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