At just three years old, brave Scarlett Gray from Lincoln has spent over eight months undergoing lifesaving cancer treatment.
In August 2015, the bubbly toddler was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma Stage 4, an extremely aggressive, rare childhood cancer which involves a tumour in the sympathetic nervous system.
Parents Andrea and Jamie succeeded in enrolling her onto an NHS clinical trial that would ensure access to the latest treatment.
Post operative complications however have meant Scarlett may have missed her window for the next phase, and the family are facing a cost of up to and exceeding £400,000 for private treatment.
Setting up a GoFundMe page has been the beginning of a long and painful journey, and kind donors have so far pledged over £9,000.
Many have also left their messages of support on Scarlett’s Facebook page, which Andrea and Jamie are using to raise awareness of her condition and update people on their daughter’s progress.
They said in a joint statement: “Seven rounds of aggressive chemotherapy were given to Scarlett over the course of six months.
“She suffered so much throughout, continuous infusions of morphine and ketamine helped with pain management, she has suffered countless infections due to the lack of immune system, a wide array of antibiotics have been employed to manage each infection until Scarlett’s immune system recovers.
“The result of which has seen the bug, C.diff thrive, heart failure, colitis and countless days battling mucositis (a truly awful side effect from chemo).”
After the induction phase, Scarlett underwent an eight hour operation to remove as much of the primary tumour as possible (10.8cm). Her parents described the experience as “heartbreaking”.
Further surgery was needed following the operation to redirect a build up of fluid in her tiny body.
Andrea and Jamie said: “Due to this additional complication, Scarlett no longer has direct access to the clinical trial immunotherapy phase.
“Immunotherapy treatment is the difference between a 45% survival rate from this terrible childhood cancer, boosting our hopes up to 65%. This is so incredibly important to us. Unfortunately, this treatment comes at a price.
“It’s so sad when money can stand in the way of our daughter receiving treatment that could save her life. She’s three years old!
“Thank you so much to each and everyone of you who have/are fundraising for our little princess, it means the world to us, you are all amazing!”
The pair still hope that the NHS will accept her for the next phase of treatment. Should this be the case, they say the funds would be locked down for five years (the period with the most danger of relapse).
They added: “Should we be lucky enough to no longer require the funds raised for immunotherapy, we will donate all of raised funds back into charities that have helped Scarlett and hopefully assist on the eradication of all childhood cancers.”
Race night for Scarlett
Friends and family have banded together in support of Scarlett’s cause. They have organised A Night at the Races in order to raise money for her treatment.
The betting game event at Sincil Bank will take place on Saturday, June 11 from 7.30pm.
Tickets cost £6 including food and a race card and are available from Toby Carvery at St Marks, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.