December’s Warrior of the Month – Teyha

Tehya has always loved to dance, and started ballet lessons at just 3 years old. Now 12, Tehya was looking forward to auditioning for Gifted and Talented Program at John Curtin College of the Arts – but in March 2015, just one week before her audition, she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

She has been on a roller coaster ride ever since. There have been many rounds of chemotherapy, some more intensive than others, and a lot of other drugs along the way. During therapy, Tehya has developed adverse reactions to some of the drugs, including the alcohol swabs and dressings, which have made already arduous treatments even more involved. As a result of the particular steroids she needed to be on, Tehya has lost her muscle strength and now finds it hard to walk long distances, let alone dance.

Tehya has just finished an intensive phase of treatment called Delayed Intensification, which lasted about 8 weeks and required her to be at the hospital every second day. She had chemotherapy intravenously once a week, with two different chemo drugs, as well as two intra-muscular chemo injections three times a week, steroid tablets, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial drugs. Tehya is now in the treatment phase known as Maintenance. She will be monitored with regular blood tests and hospital visits, and will take oral chemotherapy every day until mid 2017.

Since her diagnosis in March, Tehya has only been able to attend school once. It is hoped that during Maintenance she will be able to return to her life a little more, return to school, and also regain the strength she needs to start dancing again. Although she has always dreamed of studying at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Teyha now talks about becoming an Occupational Therapist, so she can help other children deal with all the unpleasant things that they have to endure, and make their journeys a little easier.

Tehya is an amazing child, and she has coped and dealt with her treatment so well. Despite everything she has gone through, she is always smiling and happy to help the other kids on the ward.

Tehya loves dance, art and catching up with her friends.

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