Summer Kansirary knows the inside of a hospital better than most teenagers – she’s spent much of her life in and out of them.
She was just 14 months old when she was diagnosed with stage 4 nephroblastoma (Wilm’s tumor), an extremely rare disease that is a cancer.
Summer, now 13 years old, started hemodialysis for her kidneys and needed multiple tubes in her veins to clear her blood.
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Then, in 2012, she had to undergo her first kidney transplant. It was a major operation and Summer had to be placed in intensive care for 10 days in an artificial coma while her kidney tried to work. She even called her kidney “Sleepy April” at the time.
For a while everything seemed to be going well. But in 2015, after returning from a vacation to Turkey, Summer received the devastating news that her kidney had rejected her body. The transplant had to be removed because it caused too much trauma. Read about the teen who was told her bone cancer was “just growing pains.”
After four and a half years of peritoneal dialysis and severe discomfort, she received the phone call she had been waiting for at 4:48am on August 4, 2020. A kidney had been found, which she called ‘Faith’.
The kidney transplant went through last year and seven months later she is embracing the positive times over the bad.
Rather than dwelling on her own circumstances, her time in and out of the hospital has made her determined to help other children with chronic illnesses.
Summer was only 14 months old when she was first diagnosed (Image: Joanne Kansirary)
Summer has been involved with the Welsh charity Dreams & Wishes, making dreams come true for children. The teen, from Bridgend, has had several wishes over the years and wanted to get involved to help the charity bring smiles to the faces of other seriously ill children as well.
She is now a charity ambassador and in addition to revising for her exams, she has spent her spare time making handmade resin items to raise money for charity. Her company is called ‘Summer’s Creations’.
Summer is determined to be positive despite her longstanding medical problems (Image: Joanne Kansirary) She is raising money by selling the gifts she has made (Image: Joanne Kansirary)
Her work with Dreams & Wishes is an important part of her positivity.
She said: “My own ongoing illness allows me to empathize with how others are feeling and it brings me great joy to know that I am also helping people and putting a smile on their faces. I also want all patients involved in Dreams & Wishes know and understand that no matter what happens, you can always achieve your dreams!
“Everyone at Dreams & Wishes are volunteers and all the money raised goes straight to charity, it’s such an inspiration. I’ve gotten a lot of wishes over the years, I went to Legoland for charity and there was a great trip to the House of Representatives.”
Summer is an ambassador for charity, Dreams & Wishes (Image: Joanne Kansirary)
Since Dreams & Wishes started in 2011, it has worked with families across the UK, providing essential support during the child’s illness and helping to build happy memories by fulfilling lifelong wishes.
Tony Curtis MBE, of the charity, said: “I think she is an amazing young girl who has been through so much and is so positive in her everyday life. As a charity, we are so proud to have her as our young ambassador. She is a real inspiration for everyone who meets her.”
Summer added: “I love making the gifts. I started making them in my bedroom and it gives me a distraction. When I’m in pain, I start making something and it distracts me.
“It’s also great that they help put a smile on the faces of other kids who are struggling. I started it with my own pocket money, but I’m amazed I raised £1,200.”
More information about Dreams & Wishes can be found here.
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