Cancer crisis tests family

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 13:00 25/03/2014
Adelaide Ketel
BABY'S BATTLE: Adelaide Ketel, 13 months old, is very sick in Christchurch Hospital.
Queen St Fruit and Vege
EXPERTISE NEEDED: The Ketel family are looking for someone to run their Queen St Fruit and Vege store in Richmond while they care for daughter Adelaide.

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A Nelson family is being tested to the hilt, having taken on a new business, then learning their 13-month-old daughter is very sick.

Andrew and Laurel Ketel have bought Richmond business Queen St Fruit and Vege and were due to take over at the end of this week, but were last week rushed to Christchurch Hospital with their little girl Adelaide who has been diagnosed with a tumour.

They are now waiting to hear what type of cancer they might be dealing with.

"Adelaide has a massive tumour, but we don't know yet what sort of cancer it might be," Mrs Ketel said from Christchurch Hospital.

Surgeons were due to conduct a biopsy yesterday.

In the meantime they are desperately seeking to employ a produce buyer to look after that side of their business, or they face having to close it.

The former owner is now looking after the premises but is committed elsewhere beyond this week, Mrs Ketel said.

"We've had many people offer to help work in the store, but we need someone experienced in buying. It's quite specialised and Andrew has spent the last month learning," Mrs Ketel said.

The Ketels went public in 2012 with their plight to fix a problem with being besieged by pushy salespeople from home appliance firm, HRV. At the time they had children Ava, who is now 9 years old, and Elliot who is 3.

Their stance stopped the problem and earned them a public apology from the franchise owner.

Adelaide was born on Valentines Day last year, and fell sick in January this year with a cough and fever. Despite the best efforts by doctors, Adelaide did not show signs of getting better.

She was flown to Christchurch Hospital by air ambulance last Thursday. A CT scan and X-rays revealed a shadow on one of her lungs.

"Last Wednesday night they thought it was pneumonia, then they thought she might have inhaled something but it's just bad news after bad news," Mrs Ketel said.

She said there was never really a good time to take on a new business, but the timing in this instance could not have been worse.

If you can help, or know of someone with specialist produce buying knowledge who is seeking paid employment, email tracyn@nelsonmail.co.nz or phone 03 546 2837.

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- The Nelson Mail

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