Despair at £500,000 bill to treat sick toddler

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THE mother of a two-year-old cancer sufferer has spoken of her devastation after learning the cost of pioneering treatment in America will be double what she had anticipated.

Relatives of Sadie-Rose Clifford, who was diagnosed with the aggressive childhood cancer neuroblastoma last October, are faced with finding more than £500,000 to finance the treatment in New York City.

Her mother, Katie Clifford, 26, from Knaresborough, discovered the cost when she received the first official quote from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center last week. It had initially been hoped the treatment would cost £250,000, and nearly £80,000 has been raised since May.

Officials from the Neuroblastoma Alliance charity are in contact with the American hospital in an attempt to hammer out a deal for Sadie-Rose’s treatment to go ahead.

Miss Clifford, whose husband, Darren, 34, is a self-employed joiner, said the family will have to move to New York for up to six months if enough money is raised for the treatment. But she added: “Getting over to America does seem so far off now. There is so much uncertainty in our lives at the moment, and to have this happen is absolutely devastating.”

Sadie-Rose has undergone three operations and is due to finish a course of radiotherapy next week. The US treatment involves using radioactive anti-bodies to destroy cancerous cells.

Neuroblastoma Alliance chief executive Alison Moy said: “We have never received such a high cost estimate before, but talks are continuing. We are still hopeful that we can get Sadie-Rose across to America for the treatment.”

About 100 children are diagnosed with neuroblastoma each year. Information about the fundraising drive is available at www.sadierosecliffordappeal.co.uk

paul.jeeves@ypn.co.uk