Cancer girl fit to fly home from Mexico

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A TERMINALLY ILL seven-year-old who went to Mexico for specialist treatment has been allowed to return home.

Olivia Downie, from Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, and her family flew to the Central American country earlier this month to get treatment for neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer.

While there, Olivia fell seriously ill and her family was told she would need expensive specialist medical treatment on any flight home. A charity, Families Against Neuroblastoma (FAN), has been helping the family and set a target of £110,000 to fund their journey back to Scotland. A JustGiving page set up to raise money for her flight and medical costs now shows over £150,000 has been raised.

FAN said the family had to wait for Olivia to come off a ventilator and she is now “fit to fly”.

A spokeswoman for the charity said it wanted to offer the family some privacy and would not divulge the flight schedule.

Problems emerged at the weekend when online issues with the bank NatWest delayed pledged funds from appearing in the charity’s bank account. FAN said the bank had worked all day to resolve the issue.

The spokeswoman said: “There were reports that the hospital in Mexico were threatening to take Olivia off her life-support machine due to ‘lack of funds’.

“But the bank have been working for us all day to resolve the issue and Olivia has opened her eyes on her own so we are hoping she won’t need the life-support machine soon anyway.”

The medical bill for the hospital in Mexico has now been settled, the spokeswoman added.

The seven-year-old was diagnosed in January 2009 after suffering from severe backaches and tiredness.

Following visits to local GPs she was taken to Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma.

FAN said Olivia had a tumour the size of a grapefruit in her stomach.Neuroblastoma is a cancer specialised nerve cells and can occur anywhere in the body. Fewer than 100 children are diagnosed with it each year in the UK, and most who suffer from it are younger than five years old.