The family of six-year-old Lily McKelvey have until April to raise over £200,000 still needed to get her treatment for a rare form of cancer.
The News has highlighted Lily’s plight and at the time of going to press £164,568 of the £370,000 has been brought in.
Lily was found to have diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) – said to be the most deadly form of child cancer – after her parents took her to hospital shortly after Christmas as she was vomiting. DIPG is rare. It affects only up to 30 British children a year, but with a life expectancy of six to nine months, time is running out for little Lily.
Her auntie Lucy O’Sullivan, from Camberwell is still desperately seeking more ways to get her niece the cash for treatment in the States.
The 43-year-old, who works at Albion Primary School in Rotherhithe has set up numerous fundraising events and online ways to generate money with the help of her family, local people and friends from the school.
Lily’s mum Elizabeth, 31, said the full amount of money needed to be reached by April. She said: “The treatments we are looking at need to be carried out between twelve and fourteen weeks after radiotherapy.”
Lily, who lives in Colchester, finished her thirteen radiotherapy sessions at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, last month. The sessions could potentially shrink Lily’s tumour.
Elizabeth said: “Lily needs to have an MRI scan on March 15, which will show if the radiotherapy has started to take effect and if there is any swelling on the brain after the radiotherapy. We’re hoping there won’t be any swelling so that we can proceed with the right treatment for Lily. But we are running out of time.
“If too much time has passed following her radiotherapy, doctors may not be able to take Lily on.”
Doctor’s in Cambridge have advised Lily’s parents the cost of Lily’s treatment in the US – including travel – would be about £370,000. The couple have been in contact with a specialist doctor from New York who can provide pioneering treatment for DIPG.
Elizabeth said: “Right now we are looking into a lot of treatments and they are all about the same cost, it just about finding the right one for Lily.”
While the family waits for the MRI scan, they have decided to start decorating Lily’s baby brother’s nursery.
Elizabeth told Lily she was going to be a big sister in December before she was diagnosed with a tumour. Her brother is due this summer, and Elizabeth said Lily cannot wait to meet him.
Elizabeth added: “We just want to raise awareness about Lily’s story and we are under a time limit. Last month doctor’s told us Lily’s life expectancy was six to nine months. The deadline for treatment is the end of April.
“We are so grateful for the donations, but we have a long way to go.”
If they cannot fly Lily oversees for treatment by the end of April, they will have to review their options. We have not thought about it yet. If we cannot raise enough money, we will sell our house, or do whatever we can,” she said.
If you have a fundraising idea you can email Lucy at firstname.lastname@example.org,
You can follow Lily’s by joining the the Facebook group, ‘Love for Lily’ ’, or following her @love_4_lily_ on Instagram, and twitter @lily_mckelvey and decide how best you want to help including buying the merchandise and raising awareness.
Or to simply donate to give life-saving treatment, visit the GoFundMe page here.