A family discovered their 12-year-old girl had a brain tumor after a routine check-up at Specsavers. Opticians discovered swelling behind schoolgirl Grace Kelly’s eyes in August last year.
Now, her family are desperately trying to raise £200,000 for life-saving treatment in Germany, which is not currently available on the NHS. The youngster, from Oadby in Leicestershire, discovered she had a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumor the size of a 50p piece after being referred for an MRI scan at Leicester Royal Infirmary.
Grace underwent an eight-hour operation to remove the mass at Queen’s Medical Centre, in Nottingham, last September 3. But surgeons could only remove 80% of the tumor because taking any more would leave the schoolgirl at risk of having a stroke, Wales Online reports.
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Grace went through several courses of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but a scan revealed the tumor had grown back while a second had started to develop. Her devastated family of her are now trying to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds to fund pioneering treatment in Germany as she cannot be treated in the UK.
Mum-of-three Vanessa, 32, said her daughter had always been fit and healthy ahead of the routine trip to the opticians which led to her shock diagnosis. She added: “The doctor showed my husband, John, and I the scan images, which showed a small mass, about the size of a 50 pence piece. He told us that Grace had a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumor.
“We were really shocked and in a state of disbelief. I couldn’t understand how this could be happening to our daughter and I felt very scared. Just before her cancer treatment began, she had an MRI scan which revealed the tumor had grown back I was devastated. Not only had it grown back, but another smaller tumor had also developed.”
Vanessa and 42-year-old husband John are currently trying to crowdfund £200,000 for private treatment in Germany unavailable on the NHS. The family visited a cancer treatment center which offers immunotherapy in Cologne, Germany in December last year.
Grace is also signed up for a trial at the University Hospital of Wurzburg in Germany and is currently waiting to see if she is eligible. Vanessa has set up a JustGiving page and will also be taking on a 26.2 mile jog in May to raise money for the Brain Tumor Research charity.
She wrote on the fundraising page: “As a family it has really hit us and has been hard to accept, its an emotional rollercoaster of fear, pain, hope and love for our daughter. She is our superhero, and amazes us at how well she is doing with her treatment so far.
“Please help us fund this extra treatment for our beautiful daughter, please hep us get her to Germany so she has the best chance of beating the odds.”
Vanessa, a healthcare assistant, added: “I find it shocking and frustrating that these pioneering treatments are not available in the UK. There is something that might be able to help but we can’t access it.
“We are shocked that the standard of care for brain tumors has been the same for the last 20 years. It’s so distressing knowing there’s no cure for what Grace has, but we don’t want to give up.
“Until we raise the £200,000, we can’t start Grace’s treatment. I’m doing the Jog 26.2 challenge for Grace and for all of those affected by brain tumors. There is such a lack of funding, and we desperately need more treatments available.”
Matthew Price, community development manager at Brain Tumor Research said: “This is such a devastating story, and we are so very sorry to hear of Grace’s terrible diagnosis. We’re really grateful to Vanessa as it’s only with the support of people like her.” that we’re able to progress our research into brain tumors and improve the outcome for patients like Grace who are forced to fight this awful disease.”
Those wishing to donate can visit the JustGiving page here. Contribute to Vanessa’s Jog 26.2 miles challenge here.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.