When Kerri-Lee Gawthorpe followed the story of brave Bradley Lowery she couldn’t imagine that just months later her own little girl would be diagnosed wtih the same condition.
Ivy-Louise Gawthorpe from Ackworth was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in January aged just 14 months after it was found a tumour above her adrenal gland had spread across her body. She has been given a 50:50 chance of survival.
It is the same form of cancer that sadly took the life of six-year-old Bradley who was taken to the nation’s heart with his brave battle against the cruel condition.
Now Ivy-Louise’s family are being given help and support from the Foundation set up in Bradley’s name and they have launched a fundraising campaign too raise £200,000 for specialist treatment in America.
She is now undergoing intense chemotherapy sessions.
Her mum Kerri-Lee and dad Jamie Wilkinson are hoping that once the treatment has been completed she will be well enough to travel to the United States for a special vaccine that through clinical trials has been shown to prevent a relapse from neuroblastoma.
Prior to that, Ivy-Louise needs to be initially clear of the cancer and her mother Kerri-Lee says she is doing well.
“I had taken her to the doctors four times as she just wasn’t herself,” explains Kerri-Lee.
“She was such a happy cheeky baby but then she stopped standing and crawling and just wanted to lie in the corner of the sofa. The doctors said it was viral but eventually on the fifth visit to the doctor they referred us to Pinderfields Hospital for scans as they thought she might have broken her leg or have a problem with her hip.”
But the scan revealed something even more sinister – a six centimetre tumour above her adrenal gland and further devastating news was to follow when her parents were told the cancer had spread.
“It had spread to all of her body, but she is just not letting the cancer win,” says Kerri-Lee.
“The tumour has shrunk by 50 per cent and the doctors say she is responding well to the treatment.
“From being poorly like she was to how she is now she is million times better, it’s like she is back to being herself again.
“It’s been a nightmare but you just have to take each day as it comes. She is too little to know what is happening to her which is a godsend.”
Ivy-Louise is undergoing chemotherapy sessions every 10 days at Leeds General Infirmary, after which she is expected to undergo an operation to remove the remainder of the tumour.
She will then undergo a stem cell transplant, before further chemotherapy and radiotherapy with the hope that she will go into remission which will give her chance of being accepted onto the American vaccine trial.
“We’ve been told it could take up to a year,” added Kerri-Lee. “We are just trying to be positive although you do have your down days, the support we’ve had from family and friends has been brilliant.”
More than £25,000 has been raised so far, some of which will be spent on a holiday for Ivy-Louise when she is well enough and the rest towards the treatment in America.
The family found out about the vaccine trial through the Bradley Lowery Foundation, which was set up in memory of the famous six-year-old Sunderland youngster who passed away last year from the rare illness.
“A friend of mine contacted them when Ivy-Louise was diagnosed and they told us abou the trail and they have also been a brillaint support, helping us with fund-raising.
“I followed the story about Bradley, but I had no idea that the disease he had would affect my little girl.
“We are just really thankful to all our family and friends who are supporting us and keeping us strong so that we can support Ivy.
“I also want to thank all the people who have already donated.”
The cause is of neuroblastoma is unknown.
There are very rare cases where children in the same family are affected, but generally neuroblastoma doesn’t run in families.
The symptoms vary depending on where the cancer is and whether it has spread.
The early symptoms can be vague and hard to spot, and can easily be mistaken for those of more common childhood conditions.
To donate visit www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/thebradleyloweryfoundation/ivy-louise?utm_id=38