The family of a nine-year-old girl who underwent lifesaving treatment in America is appealing for people to support a campaign to help another child undergo the same treatment.
Lilly MacGlashan, originally from Dunstable, touched the hearts of thousands of people after being diagnosed with stage 4s neuroblastoma, a rare type of cancer that mostly affects babies and young children, when she was six months old.
She had treatment at Addenbrookes but her only chance of survival was pioneering drug therapy in the USA.
A massive local campaign helped the family raise £300,000 for treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, in 2011.
Now eight years later Lilly, who has a twin sister, Molly, is in remission and making amazing progress.
Lilly’s sister Danielle Newell, who spearheaded the fundraising, now wants to help another family who are in a similar situation.
Five-year-old Lulu De Vries, from Great Denham, near Bedford, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma last year.
Her family has launched an appeal to raise £162,000 by July 2019, so she can access the Bivalent Vaccine clinical trial at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
The treatment is not available on the NHS or privately in the UK, and her family believe it could be Lulu’s best chance of remaining cancer-free.
Danielle will be joined by Lilly and Molly on Sunday, April 28, for a 5km walk in the village of Sharnbrook where they now live, to raise money for the campaign.
The 32-year-old said: “My sister had the same thing and went to New York for treatment and it worked, she is fine now.
“Lulu needs the same thing that Lilly had and her family are trying to raise money to go there for the treatment and we want to help.
“Being 7 months pregnant I can’t do much but this is my way of helping, we can do a 5km fundraiser walk, hopefully around the village.
“We want to raise awareness of the fundraising for Lulu and help raise as much money as possible, from previous experience we know how much money needs to be raised and it is a lot. But we also know how important it is, it worked for Lilly and she is doing so well.
“Lilly needed £300k to get to New York so we did a lot of fundraising and we had a lot of donations from people in the local community.
“It’s good for people to see how well Lilly is doing and they can see that the treatment works, it is really important to get the funds for these children.
“We also want to thank everyone who helped Lilly and we are asking people to sponsor us and help Lulu.”
Lilly’s mum Dawn Macglashan said: “We are so super proud of our inspirational little girl Lilly, who is raising money for Lulu, who has the same deadly disease neuroblastoma Lilly had.
“In our darkest days when Lilly was given no hope of surviving, we could never have dreamt on our wildest dreams that she would be a strong, healthy nine-year-old doing a sponsored walk to help another little girl in the same position fighting to survive.
“Lilly is living proof that the treatment she had in America at the Sloane Memorial Kettering really does work.
“We will never forget how the general public gave so generously to help save her life and we want to stress how important this is. Lulu and her family need all the help they can get in receiving treatment in America to give Lulu the best chance of survival.
“Without all the fundraising that was done for Lilly from friends, family and the general public, I would not be sitting here now telling you our amazing story. Without their help, the outcome for Lilly would have been so different, I wouldn’t even want to think about it.
“Lilly is a very happy, bubbly little girl, with a really mischievous personality, she takes the bull by the horn and lives life to the full. She is very close to her twin, Molly, who has always been by Lilly’s side, even in hospital throughout Lilly’s treatment.
“So, honestly without a doubt, we know as a family how important it is to raise money for Lulu’s fight for survival. It literally does make all the difference to her life.”
To make a donation visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/danielle-newell4.