Isla Caton returns to Hornchurch for Christmas after successful cancer treatment
PUBLISHED: 17:00 24 December 2019
After three years battling a rare cancer in hospitals abroad, Hornchurch five-year-old, Isla Caton is returning home with her family for Christmas.
After being diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma in March 2016, which affects 100 children a year in the UK and forms in the central nervous system, the family - who are originally from Stratford - were told Isla had just three months to live and a two per cent chance of survival, with no treatment available on the NHS.
Specialist doctors told Isla's parents that there was trial medicine available - but at a cost of up to half a million pounds.
The loyal West Ham family started a campaign to raise funds that took off, raising thousands of pounds and seeing Isla become a team mascot at the London Stadium.
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She united Hammers supporters and London rivals Millwall in 2018, when the campaign saw Millwall fans running marathons in West Ham T-shirts.
"The support from the football community has been unreal, all the support we received was from normal, working class people, we wouldn't be here without their generosity," said Nicola Caton, Isla's mum.
Now, after suffering two relapses, her parents were delighted to announce that Isla was in remission in March 2019 and has been undergoing the last round of treatment this December in Barcelona, where she and her parents have been since August, leaving her 19-year-old sister, Amelia, at home.
"We're so excited to finally be able to take Isla home and spend Christmas with her brothers and sisters, it's been so long and being away has been really hard on our family," explained Nicola.
Nicola and her husband, Michael, had been unable to work since the move, and have been in the hospital every day with Isla. But the battle is not quite over - cancer in children is more likely to return than in adults, and Isla needs a vaccine only available in the US that should provide her with antibodies to fight relapses.
The family's fundraising campaign is £100,000 short of reaching their £600,000 goal, and you can support brave Isla's campaign at justgiving.com/IslaCaton.