Little Hana Tarraf, the eight-year-old girl who had gastric band surgery last year to control her life-threatening weight gain, has received devastating news in her brave fight – the tumour that prompted the surgery that caused her rare condition has returned.
Hana, who is one of the youngest people ever to undergo the drastic stomach procedure, needed brain surgery to remove a rare form of cancer at the age of five, but the operation left her with an unexpected side effect – her body could no longer register when she was full and her metabolism went into starvation mode.
This prompted her weight to increase by a kilo a week and within 18 months she was wheelchair-bound because her little limbs could not support her size.
Her parents Nour and Naomi have faced an ongoing struggle to stop her weight gain, including getting her a lap band and travelling to Canada to undergo cold laser therapy.
That plan was working, but then they were delivered another blow.
"[To] hear that the tumour had come back kind of felt like this future that we’d created ourselves was falling through our hands like sand," Hana's dad Nour said.
"We started the year and thought this was going to be a new start"
The tumour is a craniopharyngioma, derived from the pituitary gland which controls growth, but recent MRI scans show it is not getting bigger. It means there is still time for new solutions.
"We will always keep trying to improve things. Always. Never stop," Naomi said.
Although Hana has struggled to come to terms with her new diagnosis, and now old enough to know there is something seriously wrong, she has been brave for her little sister Maryam.
"You know Hana, she's a wise old soul in an 8-year-old’s body. There’s something very different about Hana. You know, she is phenomenal."
Hana and Maryam named the tumour 'Tootie'.
Dad Nour said Hana is his hero.
"This is her lot in life so far and she’s dealt with it so well. If she’s happy with that, then I just, you just have to push through whatever you get faced with."
"She’s my little hero."
You can read more about Hana at her mum's blog: www.nursenaomi.com