Friends rally to help after cancer trauma

The zumbathon for Nyandiar Malek with her sister-in-law Simone Malek (centre)

The zumbathon for Nyandiar Malek with her sister-in-law Simone Malek (centre)

First published in Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Ilkley/Otley Reporter

A young girl who lost her fight against cancer was the inspiration for a zumba evening.

The event at Education Through Sport in Nesfield Street, Bradford, was organised by the friends of Simone and Reuben Malek, of Clayton Heights, Bradford.

The couple, their friends and wider community had been working hard for several months to pay for medical care and treatment for Reuben’s 11-year-old sister Nyandiar Malek.

Nyandiar, who was living in South Sudan, was diagnosed with a cancerous Wilms tumour in June. Her Bradford family got her to Uganda to give her the best chance of survival. They organised a fundraising night at Malik House in Manor Row, Bradford, in September to help pay for the chemotherapy Nyandiar needed and an operation.

After extensive research Simone managed to find a British doctor who was prepared to carry out the operation, but Nyandiar died in surgery.

Mrs Malek, 30, said: “My husband went out to Uganda and was told she only had a 50/50 chance because she was so weak. We knew there was not a great chance of success but we decided to take the risk because she would have died anyway.”

She estimates they spent £10,000 on medical treatment and then had to borrow a further £1,800 to pay for Nyandiar’s body to be flown back home to South Sudan for her funeral.

When the couple’s friends heard of this hefty bill they wanted to help and organised the zumba evening, and friends plan further events.

Mrs Malek said: “To be honest we were not going to do anymore fundraising after she died but people obviously heard about what happened and wanted to help.

“They knew we had spent so much trying to pay for the treatment.

“The zumba evening was great and we would like to thank everyone who turned up and helped to raise money.”

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