'We want her to die at home': Parents who flew their cancer-stricken daughter, 7, to Mexico for last-ditch treatment appeal for 140,000 needed to fly her back to Britain
Doctors refuse to let her fly home to Scotland without medical support Family must pay for a private jet big enough for the specialist equipment
16:08 GMT, 21 June 2012
The family of a cancer-stricken little girl pleaded for help today after they faced the dawning reality that she could die stranded in Mexico.
Olivia Downie flew to the city of Tijuana earlier this month to undergo specialist treatment, but unlike others, the bed-ridden seven-year-old has not responded successfully.
She is unlikely to survive now that the cancer has spread to her lungs and brain, but doctors have refused permission for her to fly home to Fraserburgh, Scotland, without medical support.
And the family are now battling to raise the 140,000 they need to fly her back home in a special private jet.
Sick: Olivia Downie has not responded well to treatment and her family need 140,000 to fly her home
Because of her worsening condition,
Olivia requires specialist equipment to keep her alive and only a
private jet has the space and facilities to cater for her needs.
the charter from Tijuana to Aberdeen Airport costing 137,196, plus
another 1,643 to fly a medic overseas, the family are desperate to find
ways to raise the cash.
Speaking from Tijuana, Olivia’s mother Lauren said: 'We want her to be surrounded by friends and family that love her, not strangers.
'She was in quite a bad condition when we came but now she’s critical. The charity that we’re involved with is already having to fork out money that we don’t have.
'Any support we can get to help her back
home would be a massive help. I am hoping for a miracle where we can
take her home and have her for a little while.
Support: Olivia with father Steven receiving treatment. Her family want to leave Mexico and be at home
'My best case scenario is to get home, so that if she was going to die she could be surrounded by her family and friends.'
Tragic: Olivia before she was first diagnosed with cancer in 2009. Her family have previously flown her to Germany for treatment
Olivia was diagnosed with stage four Neuroblastoma three years ago and the family have previously flown to Germany so she can receive immunotherapy.
Earlier this month she flew out to the Hope 4 Cancer Institute in Mexico to try photodynamic therapy.
But, Olivia, who is big sister to Jessica, 22 months, has been one of the few patients not to respond to a special injection to make the tumours easier to break down.
Heartbroken Lauren said: 'She had the injection. We knew it would make her worse and then make her better.
'It’s made her worse, but she never seemed to get better. All the other people who have had the injection have been getting better after two or three days.
'Now she can’t even hear me. I was trying to tell her that I love her, but she couldn’t.
'I was holding her hand and telling her to squeeze if she could hear me, but she didn’t even move.
'I am hoping for a miracle. I want her at home, surrounded by people that love her.'
Lauren, who is 25 weeks pregnant, also fears Olivia might not live long enough to see her sibling.
She said: 'It’s always in the back of my mind that we might have a chance of losing Olivia before I have this baby.
'It makes me cry. It makes me think why is she like this and so unwell. Olivia is just in absolute agony – but doesn’t ever complain. She’s always putting everyone else first.
Olivia before she was first diagnosed with cancer in 2009 with her mother Lauren who is pregnant
'Before she took a turn for the worst I would lay in bed with her, because I help rub her tumours, which helps with the pain.
'She said ‘mum you’re pregnant and you have a sore back, you shouldn’t be doing this’.
'I said ‘Olivia, pregnancy is normal – cancer is not’.
Lauren even had an ultrasound to determine the sex of the baby at Olivia’s special request.
She said: 'She got her dad to wheel her through in absolute agony and we found out it was a boy, which is what she wanted.'
Olivia, pictured with her parents before the cancer struck, is now being monitored round the clock
Doctors, who have transferred Olivia to a high dependency ward, are now monitoring her around the clock.
And Lauren and her husband Steven take shifts spending time with Olivia while the other watches Jessica.
Hospital rules restrict them from staying in Olivia’s room overnight. Instead Lauren and Steven take turns sleeping outside her door on the floor.
Lauren’s close friend Michelle Higgins appeal to Aberdeenshire residents to donate money to helk fly the family back to Fraserburgh.
She said: 'They’ve been through so much. We have got to get them home. It’s devastating.When Lauren phoned it was the worst call ever.'
Anyone interested in donating can visit www.justgiving.com/olivia-downie-appeal