Adelaide home to prepare for surgery ordeal

LONG ROAD AHEAD: Adelaide Ketel is having a few weeks’ rest before undergoing major surgery in Christchurch.
LONG ROAD AHEAD: Adelaide Ketel is having a few weeks’ rest before undergoing major surgery in Christchurch.

The family of 13-month-old Adelaide Ketel is due back home in Nelson this weekend before major surgery is scheduled in Christchurch in a few weeks.

Adelaide Ketel was recently found to have a large growth in her chest, which the family was initially warned was most likely cancerous. Oncologists at Christchurch Hospital were able to deliver the happy news it was not cancer but further investigation revealed the extent of surgery required to remove the growth.

The family, including two other children, have since shifted their lives to Christchurch and have worked around the clock tending to Adelaide who fell ill in January.

The Ketels had recently taken on Richmond business Queen St Fruit and Vege, and through the Nelson Mail sought help running the business while they were in Christchurch. The call for help attracted a huge public response - from offers of help from suitably qualified people, to offers of childcare, financial help and messages of condolence.

The Ketels have taken on a former owner of the store who responded to the story, and said they were overwhelmed by the response.

Laurel Ketel said they planned to be home this weekend, so Adelaide could rest and feed before surgery. She needed to be in more robust health to withstand the operation, Ketel said.

"They still don't know what the mass is and they are going to have to open her chest right up. It's attached to the diaphragm, the membrane surrounding her heart and her right lung. They will remove the part of her lung that has collapsed.

"They're hoping that they can do it in one go but it will likely take a few surgeries as it will be complicated and she's just little."

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, she did not show signs of getting better. She was flown to Christchurch Hospital a couple of weeks ago.

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