Family told: It's not cancer

00:07, Mar 27 2014
Adelaide Ketel
BABY'S BATTLE: Adelaide Ketel, 13 months old, is very sick in Christchurch Hospital.

The Nelson family rushed to Christchurch last week with their sick baby were delivered news yesterday they are not fighting cancer, but major surgery is ahead for their little girl.

Adelaide Ketel, who is 13 months old, was diagnosed with a tumorous mass in her chest last week after falling ill in January.

The family was prepared for the worst, but heard from oncologists late yesterday the growth is not cancerous. However, further investigation will reveal the extent of surgery required, as it is possible the growth is attached to Adelaide's heart, her mother Laurel Ketel said last night.

She and her husband Andrew have just bought Richmond business Queen St Fruit and Vege and put out a plea via the Nelson Mail yesterday for help to run the business while they are in Christchurch. The response was overwhelming, from all over the country, and they are confident they have found the right person to employ.

The Mail received many emails and calls from people offering to take on the job, including several qualified for the specific task of produce buying.

"There are so many amazing people in our country.


"There were people from all over offering to help.

"I think we have something in place but I will personally get back to everyone who has offered over the course of the day to thank them.

"We really appreciate the offers," Mrs Ketel said.

Adelaide was born on Valentine's Day last year, and fell sick in January this year with a cough and fever. Despite the best efforts by doctors, she 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.

Mrs Ketel said it was unnerving being called back to the hospital late yesterday after Monday's biopsy, but the anxiety was relieved by the additional information that doctors had "a little bit of good news".

"The oncologist walked in and straightaway said, ‘it's not cancer'.

"They had told us they were certain it was because they'd not seen a tumour like it.

"It's benign, but we're still waiting for the results of the rest of the biopsy, and there's a chance that the growth may be attached to Adelaide's heart.

"But they were certain the tumour was malignant, so hopefully she proves them wrong again."

Mrs Ketel said doctors had told them there was a chance that Adelaide may have been born with the growth.

"Things are still a bit dire, but there's every chance of beating this.

"It was such an awful day in Christchurch yesterday.

"It was raining and thundery, but I swear when they told us, the sun came out.

"They've told us there's still a long road ahead, but it's helped us a lot just knowing there are so many people out there thinking about us. It's been amazing.

"The relief of knowing Andrew won't have to leave us or close the shop is huge," Mrs Ketel said.