Wed | Aug 12, 2020

Child written off after cancer diagnosis – Part 1

Published:Sunday | July 12, 2020 | 12:09 AMTamara Bailey - Sunday Gleaner writer
Twelve-year-old Danyelle with her mother Nardia Russell-Smythe.
Twelve-year-old Danyelle with her mother Nardia Russell-Smythe.

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

Romans 8:31-32: “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

When Nardia Russell-Smythe gave birth to her daughter, Danyelle, at the Mandeville Hospital in May 2008 via emergency C-section, she had no idea what a roller coaster of a journey she would encounter.

“My daughter came out extremely swollen. Doctors at the hospital were uncertain about what it was but knew it was an emergency, and so she was sent to the Bustamante Hospital for Children the following day, where she was admitted for about five months before we learned that she had cancer of the kidney - congenital mesoblastic nephroma.”

Russell-Smythe suffered several complications during pregnancy, including a ruptured stomach caused by severe vomiting in her ninth month and found life becoming gradually difficult.

“… I was sad and broken and disappointed. This was my first child, so I wasn’t expecting this near-fatal situation at all. It deeply pained my heart to know that after I tried to live my life for God, my first child could be born this sick. I couldn’t understand how comes my baby could be born with a tumour, much less cancer.”


With both her and her husband in pastoral ministry, Russell-Smythe said that prayer became an even greater part of their lives and faith their driving force despite the news from doctors that she would not live.

“My baby’s belly had green veins and was very firm and extremely big. I cannot even imagine how uncomfortable and painful it must have been for her. She was undergoing chemotherapy at five months and soon developed meningitis, urinal infection, asthma, and high blood pressure. One doctor told me that with all the complications, there is nothing they can do and it’s best to take her home from the hospital and spend my last few days with her.”

She continued: “My husband was very supportive and stood by me through this difficult time. It was also his first child, so he, too, was broken, but he held it together for both of us. I stayed at the hospital in Kingston most nights and would only go by my aunt to get some rest when the doctors begged me to. Our families stood by us during this time, offering support in whatever way they could.”

It is easy to feel as though God has abandoned you when everything seems to be getting worse despite the yearnings for help, but the Smythes soon found out that all is perfect in His time.

Join us next week as we share the miracle that changed the family’s life forever.