Me and my little sister: Katy Holmes, from Lancashire, cuddles baby Scarlet, the baby her mother delivered early so that she could meet her before she dies
Desperate mother has baby induced early so she can meet her dying 10-year-old sisterLoss of little Katy’s smile alerted her mother to spectre of illness Baby Scarlet brings the cancer-stricken schoolgirl happiness
Family seek radical help from Australia to save their daughter meet the new addition to their family.
A heavily pregnant mother took the heartbreaking decision to induce her child early so that her unborn daughter could meet her dying older sister.
Paula Holmes, from Penwortham, near Preston, Lancashire, asked doctors to deliver baby Scarlet three weeks early to allow cancer-stricken Katy the chance to meet her little sister.
Katy, 10, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in October and as her condition deteriorated Paula and husband David were afraid she would not
Paula said: ‘The realisation that I was pregnant and that Katy might not get to see the baby was terrifying. My consultant agreed to do it without hesitation.’
And she added: ‘Katy loves Scarlet, and seems to have a special way with her. All we have to do is put Scarlet in her arms and she starts smiling.’
Until a few weeks before her diagnosis Katy had been a happy and healthy child, but it was a mother’s instinct that led Paula to take Katy to the family doctor.
As Paula and David watched a normally beaming Katy receive a school certificate they immediately noticed that something was amiss with their usually smiling little girl.
Support: Katy, centre, with baby Scarlet and sister Charley, 8, from left, mother Paula, brother Craig, 19, brother Lee, 24,
dad David and sister Kelly, 27.
Paula added: ‘Katy is the type of child who always has a smile on her face, and has a happy nature.
‘But when the headteacher gave her the certificate, she did not smile or even flinch. She just looked sad, which was really out of character.
‘My mother’s instinct sent alarm bells ringing, and I knew there was something seriously wrong.
‘Katy loves Scarlet, and seems to have a
special way with her. All we have to do is put Scarlet in her arms and
she starts smiling.’Paula Holmes, Katy’s mother
‘I took Katy straight to the GP and said, ‘You’re going to think I’m mad, but I am really worried as Katy isn’t smiling anymore’.’
Katy first began to mention that she had been suffering from blurred vision and headaches shortly after starting Year Six at St Mary Magdalene’s Primary School as head girl.
Paula explained: ‘We have a history of headaches in the family, so did not suspect anything abnormal. But we took Katy to the GP straight away just in case.
“The doctor thought it could be migraines, and asked us to keep a week-long diary of Katy’s headaches.
PUPILS from Katy’s school and family and friends have been fund-raising so that she could draw up a wishlist of things she would like to do.
Her requests have been modest and although it has been possible to grant them she has not been well enough to take part.
Paula explains: ‘St Mary Magdalene School have been absolutely fantastic, and pupils have had non-uniform days, bingo nights, cake stalls and all sorts of fund-raising events for Katy.
‘Family and friends have done so much, too, and the community has really pulled together. Katy has never been extravagant, and appreciates the small things in life.
‘When we asked her what she wanted more than anything, she asked to go to the Trafford Centre in Manchester to see the lights. But she wasn’t even well enough to do this.
‘Other things she wanted was to go on a husky dog sleigh ride, go to the Sandcastle Water Park in Blackpool and to go to Beamish.
‘She also really wanted to go to see The Lion King in London, and The Wish Foundation arranged for her to do this, but again, she was too ill and couldn’t go.
‘We just hope she can recover enough to do all the things she wants to do.’
“But just days later, we had the school assembly, and the lack of a smile made me head straight back to the doctors.”
Katy was sent to the Royal Preston Hospital for a CT scan ordered by her GP and it came back clear.
little girl then left for a few days on a school trip but when she
returned a teacher expressed concern that while taking a photograph of
Katy she had noticed that something didn’t seem right with one of her
Paula rushed her daughter to A&E where doctors performed an MRI scan revealing a brain tumour.
Further investigation revealed that the tumour was embedded in the brain stem which was why it had not appeared on the first scan.
It was after the schoolgirl had been sent to the Royal Manchester Childrens’ Hospital that the family were told the devastating news that because of the type of cancer and its location the tumour was inoperable and that the only course of treatment was radiotherapy.
Katy was given between six and nine months to live.
David said: ‘It is the worst and most aggressive type of brain tumour there is.’
The self-employed upholsterer added: ‘To be told our daughter had it, and that it couldn’t be operated on, was the worst news we could have heard.’
The family have not told Katy that the condition is terminal.
Her parents have been told three times times that they should say their goodbyes but Katy has pulled through on each occasion.
She is now being cared for at Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley, Lancashire.
The family are now pursuing their last hope by trying to contact Dr Charles Teo in Australia who is known for making bold medical decisions.
Paula says: ‘We are utterly desperate now, and need whatever help we can get. We feel totally helpless as Katy’s life ebbs away.
‘Our beautiful daughter is fighting and astounding medics, so we owe it to her to do everything humanly possible to help her fight.
‘If this was a war, and Katy was sent to fight, as a mother I would be right in front of her, protecting her from oncoming troops.
‘It is no different now, except I don’t actually know what I can do, or how to do it.’