Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Vanessa's Journey

As a parent this is so sad to read, my own little girl is nearly 5 and I would be devastated if anything ever happened to her. Vanessa is only 6 years old and has had to endure so much illness in her short life.

Her parents are devastated to report that after 8 happy months of remission from cancer, Vanessa’s neuroblastoma has returned. A small but inoperable tumour in the sphenoid bone, close to her optic nerve, is evidence that the 26 months of frontline treatment, including 17 months as an in-patient… was not aggressive enough. A single metastases from her original cancer has survived in her skull… which is a very negative sign and dramatically reduces her chances of survival.
Vanessa has no symptoms and has never felt better or looked more beautiful. She is loving school and was so greatly looking forward to going swimming this week as they were finally scheduled to remove the hickman line from her heart that has prevented her from being submerged since she was 4. Instead this week They will crop-short the hair she is so proud to have regrown, to save her the indignity of it falling out in clumps.

She starts chemo tomorrow morning. The current plan is 15 months of chemotherapy at Great Ormond Street, then radio or proton therapy. Finally they will aim to do 8 cycles of an immunotherapy treatment called 3F8, which is the only treatment that will raise her survival odds out of single digits. 3F8 is only available in one hospital in the world – Sloan Kettering in New York. Her parents are going to have to raise money for this treatment – which will cost up to $1M dollars, depending how many cycles Vanessa can tolerate.

It's difficult for For her parents to ask for money from their friends - but they now have no other place to turn. Without immunotherapy, Vanessa will likely continue to relapse, go into cycles of remission and relapse again in an ever escalating nightmare of toxicity and hospitalisation. They now really need your help.They have set up a justgiving page below. It's administered by a great charity called the Neuroblastoma Childrens Cancer Alliance (NCCA) that has supported the Family closely for the last several years. If Vanessa doesn't survive long enough to benefit from immunotherapy then the charity will redirect all funds into clinical research for neuroblastoma.

So please give generously to www.justgiving.com/vanessasjourney

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