A schoolgirl diagnosed with a rare form of cancer is just days away from hopefully being given the all-clear after receiving revolutionary proton therapy treatment in the US.
Niamh Yates was diagnosed with an undifferentiated sarcoma on the base of her spine earlier this year, and the extremely rare form of cancer caused the brave youngster severe back pain and mobility problems.
Niamh, who attends Ross High School, had to endure seven hours of surgery to prevent permanent paralysis, gruelling physiotherapy and six cycles of chemotherapy as she battled the killer disease.
The 13-year-old flew out to Jacksonville, Florida, in July to receive vital lifesaving treatment by undergoing a nine-week Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) course at a private US hospital.
The cutting edge NHS-funded treatment cost approximately £120,500 and is currently not available in the UK.
Now her delighted parents Julie and Paul, both 37, have revealed Niamh’s treatment in the US has been a success. Julie said: “It is fairly early days so far but we have been told that Niamh will hopefully be given the all-clear after an MRI scan at the end of this month.”She had to go through so many radiotherapy sessions, and, even though she stayed positive throughout, it did take its toll near the end. Niamh has been so strong throughout this whole process – she’s an inspiration to all of us.”
Julie and Paul had to raise a £17,000 to cover the expense of taking their family, including Niamh’s little brother Conor, to Florida for 10 weeks, but due to the generosity of friends, family and the public the Yates managed to raise a total of £30,000. The surplus cash will now be used to set up a charity to help families also battling childhood cancer.
“We now realise how difficult it is for a family to move out to the US and try to maintain some kind of normality,” added Julie. “We can’t thank everyone enough for the donations, we were so overwhelmed. It restores your faith in humanity.”