A MASSIVE fundraising campaign has been launched so a two-year-old girl can receive potentially life-saving cancer treatment.
Bodie McNulty was only 10 months old when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour, which is one fifth the size of her skull.
Parents Kevin McNulty and Lauren Thornton always believed ground-breaking Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) would give Bodie a better chance of beating the disease.
However, they say because a recent MRI scan discovered a previously unnoticed mass within her brain stem her tumour now exceeds the size requirements for NHS funding for PBT by a few millimetres.
PBT is described as very precise treatment, making it well suited to tackling certain cancers where treatment can be tricky, such as in children.
But, if successful in their fund raising, Bodie would need to travel overseas to receive it.
As a result, Kevin, a tattoo artist, and Lauren, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, have set up a Just Giving page in the hope of raising £175,000.
In just a couple of days more than 80 people had pledged over £2,000 towards the target.
The family live in Milnrow but Lauren has family members in Shaw while Kevin works in Royton.
Brave Lauren said: “Bodie started with symptoms of sickness and constant tiredness which rapidly progressed into her losing the ability to crawl, sit up or even support her own head.
“The sixth time we arrived at our local A&E department a locum doctor checked the reflexes in her legs and suggested we get an ultrasound of her brain.
“This revealed ‘an abnormality’ and we were transferred to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.”
It was there the couple were told the heart-breaking news about their daughter’s condition.
“Bodie’s first surgery was on New Year’s Eve to relieve pressure in her skull,” added Lauren.
“Four days later she had further brain surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible.
“Sadly after nine hours neuro surgeons could only manage to safely remove approximately half of the tumour.
“Two weeks after the surgery we were given Bodie’s official cancer diagnosis.
“For the past two months we were on track for Proton Beam Therapy which we were confident would be funded by the NHS.
“However, her most recent MRI scan has shown a previously unnoticed mass within her brain stem.
“This new discovery is part of the original tumour and not new growth and means her tumour now exceeds the size requirements for NHS funding by a few millimetres.
“We are now faced with the agonising choice of having to self-fund life-saving Proton Beam Therapy not currently available in the UK, or give her conventional Photon Radiotherapy which we believe would cause more long-term damage to Bodie as it also hits healthy brain tissue. This can be avoided with targeted Proton Beam Therapy.”
Dad Kevin admits even £175,000 may not be enough to fund treatment. “We haven’t been given any quotes,” he said.
“That was the figure we came up after looking at the cases of other people to see how much they have attempted to raise.
“Until we hear back from the Proton centres we won’t know the exact figures.
“There are no Proton Beam centres in the UK though one is opening in Manchester (at the Christie) in August but that’s too far off.
“And we don’t think Bodie would be given treatment there because it is an NHS facility.
“So, we are looking at Western Europe (Germany or Czech Republic) or America.
“The NHS were originally looking at sending Bodie to Florida so that would be our preferred choice.
“At the moment Bodie’s tumour is stable. However, if she is left too long without treatment, potentially it could start to grow again.
“And once it starts growing again she wouldn’t qualify for Proton Beam Therapy treatment. That’s a game changer.”
Anyone wishing to help raise funds for Bodie’s treatment can donate at: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/protonforbodie