Hornchurch family of girl, two, with neuroblastoma appeal for public's support for lifesaving treatment
PUBLISHED: 18:33 10 May 2017 | UPDATED: 18:33 10 May 2017
The family of a two-year old girl with a rare form of cancer are appealing for the public's support to raise more than £190,000 for specialist treatment in the US.
Isla Caton, of Hornchurch, was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma in March and is undergoing 15 months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy after the aggressive cancer spread to her bones and bone marrow.
Mum Nicola Caton and dad Michael Hook say they need to raise £192,000 to pay for Isla to have immunotherapy and fund the necessary cost of flights, living costs and accommodation over the course of several months.
Nicola said: “If all you can afford is just £1 for Isla, we will be grateful – even a prayer. We just want her to get better.”
Only 100 children in the UK get neuroblastoma every year and immunotherapy – which involves the injection of an antibody therapy - is not currently available on the NHS.
EUSA Pharma today announced that the European Commission has approved funding for a particular cancer drug for high risk neuroblastoma patients such as Isla.
However, as the UK’s health watchdog is yet to approve the drug, Isla’s family have started a treatment programme for their daughter and say they don’t want to wait until things are “too late”.
The family already experienced two months of initial agony waiting for a diagnosis during which Isla’s tumour grew to 20cm wide.
The “happy” toddler who “never sat down” went from climbing and running around to being unable to barely eat and losing a stone in weight in only weeks.
Since Isla’s diagnosis, Nicola says there have been “a lot of scares” about how the neuroblastoma has been progressing.
At one point, doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital thought it had spread to Isla’s brain.
“I took that badly because I thought that is the worst way to die,” said Nicola.
The 37-year-old praised family and friends who have been doing all they can to raise funds and says the immunotherapy will give her “hope”.
She said: “I truly know she can fight it.”
To make a donation visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/IslaCaton