Mother's battle to raise £250,000 so her daughter, 3, with deadly brain tumour can have pioneering treatment in the U.S
Caoimhe Neeson has been diagnosed with a fast-growing brain tumourNeeds radiation to kill remaining cancer cells after surgery but the only type available in the UK could leave her mentally impairedMother Joe-Anne desperately trying to raise funds for specialist treatment in the US
17:32 GMT, 12 October 2012
Caoimhe Neeson, 3, pictured with mother Joe-Anne, has been diagnosed with a fast-growing, malignant brain tumour
A mother is desperately trying to raise £250,000 for an operation in the U.S. after her daughter was turned down for a life-saving op on the NHS.
Joe-Anne Neeson needs the cash to send three-year-old Caoimhe to the US for cancer treatment that could help prolong her life.
Caoimhe was diagnosed with a fast-growing, malignant brain tumour in February.
Ms Neeson, 29, of Glasgow, said her daughter was vomiting up to 10 times a day for more than two months, had problems with her balance and agonising headaches before her diagnosis.
She added: 'Caoimhe was a shell of herself by the time she was diagnosed.
'When they took me aside, they said she had a growth and I asked if it was cancerous. It was a relief in a strange way.'
Days after her cancer was diagnosed, Caoimhe was on the operating table.
However, surgeons were unable to remove all of the tumour, because of its size and location.
'It’s such a fast growing aggressive tumour. If they had caught it before they might have been able to remove it all.'
After the surgery Caoimhe, who has an 11-year-old brother Corrie, was left unable to talk and walk but has amazed medics and her family by regaining her mobility and her speech.
Yet her mother has been told there is
only a 40 per cent chance Caoimhe will survive to her fith birthday. It
is thought the cancer may also have spread to her spine.
Caoimhe has been turned down for NHS
funding for Proton Therapy, a targeted form of radiotherapy which is
offered by a number of hospitals in the US.
Her mother is desperately trying to raise £250,000 for an operation in the U.S. after her daughter was turned down for life-saving treatment on the NHS
Doctors have said there is only a 40 per cent chance Caoimhe, diagnosed in February, will survive to her fifth birthday. It is thought the cancer may also have spread to her spine
Meanwhile the family is desperately trying to raise the £250,000.
She is currently being treated with chemotherapy at Glasgow's Royal Hospital for Sick Children. This has stabilised the cancer but it is likely to return in a more aggressive form.
Ms Neeson and her best friend Jaclyn Smith, 28, have launched a fundraising campaign to send Caoimhe to the U.S. for Proton Therapy, which delivers a more precise dose of radiation without killing healthy tissue surrounding the tumour.
Conventional radiation could leave her severely mentally impaired.
'We know she is going to need radiation and Proton radiation is targeted – it’s like the difference between a shotgun blast or a sniper,' explained Ms Neeson
'But here the conventional type is the only option and that’s going to leave her with no quality of life.
'We were turned down for treatment as they said Caoimhe was a very complex case, and because it’s so advanced.
'It all rests on the money and we have to do everything we can.'
Ms Neeson and her best friend Jaclyn Smith (right) are hoping to raise sufficient funds to take Caoimhe to the US for Proton Therapy, a treatment not available in the UK
Decisions to send paediatric patients to America for Proton Therapy are not taken by individual health authorities.
Instead, each case is individually assessed by a UK panel of cancer specialists who determine if patients meet the criteria for treatment.
The little girl's mother also believes that an earlier diagnosis might have helped her daughter and has made a complaint to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
She claims Caoimhe was originally treated for a bowel obstruction and given laxatives.
'She presented with every symptom of a brain tunmour – dizziness, vomiting, balance problems – and they failed to diagnose it.. She was sick every day for 68 days.
'They kept sending me home with her. I looked at her symptoms online and brain tumour kept coming up.'
An investigation has been launched by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde into Caoimhe’s care.
A spokeswoman for NHSGGC Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “We have received a complaint from the patient’s mother. We are looking into the concerns that she raised with us and will respond to her direct.'