When faced with a situation that seems utterly hopeless, sometimes the only thing left to do is pray for a miracle.
When doctors insisted there was nothing a couple from England could do to save their little girl from a terminal condition, they refused to give up hope and prayed that a miracle would save their 3-year-old. Now, it seems a mysterious stranger has answered those prayers…
The First Headache
When their little girl first complained that she had a headache, a couple from Tranmere, a suburb on the Wirral Peninsula in England, didn’t think there was anything to worry about since everyone gets a headache from time to time.
Peace And Quiet
In the beginning, the parents did what everyone does when a headache arises. They made sure their toddler was drinking plenty of fluids, got enough sleep, and made sure their home was peaceful and quiet so that the headache could pass…
A Worrying Progression
Soon enough, their daughter’s headache was gone and she was back being her energetic, playful self. However, it wasn’t long before the headache came back. As time passed, the headaches came more frequently and progressively got worse.
Making An Appointment
After 6 months, their daughter’s headaches were practically a daily occurrence and the couple started to worry that something was wrong. Finally, the parents decided to make an appointment at the GP to see if their daughter was just prone to headaches or if something was causing them…
Last November, Ashleigh Stadling and her husband Stephen, took their daughter, Edie to her doctor to get some answers. “After seeing her GP she was referred to consultant pediatrician at Arrowe Park,” Ashleigh and Stephen explained.
The pediatrician told the couple that their daughter most likely suffered from migraines but told them to bring Edie in for an MRI scan just to rule out any other unlikely possibilities. When the results of the MRI came back, however, Ashleigh and Stephen’s world came crashing down…
“Last November our world was crushed,” said Ashleigh, a nursery nurse. According to the couple, doctors told them that the MRI detected a lump in Edie’s brain stem and referred her to specialists at Alder Hey children’s hospital.
“After more scans they have told us they are 95% sure that this is a brain tumor called a Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG),” Ashleigh and Stephen explained. Doctors told the couple that DIPG is a rare form of brain cancer that occurs in children, but that wasn’t the only bad news…
An Inoperable Condition
According to the doctors, DIPG can’t be operated on because it’s located in the pons, a crucial part in the center of the brain that is responsible for controlling crucial bodily functions like breathing, sleeping, and blood pressure. It’s also responsible for sensations like balance, taste, and hearing.
Symptoms of DIPG typically include headaches, balance issues, weakness, seizures, and lack of facial control. Not only is DIPG inoperable, but the tumor usually grows quickly and spreads to other parts of the brain and spinal cord…
According to statistics, almost all children with the rare brain cancer die within 18 months of diagnosis. Ashleigh and Stephen pleaded with doctors that there must be something that can save their little girl, who is now 3 years old, but they told them there was sadly nothing they could do.
Inoperable And Untreatable
When the couple asked if chemotherapy was an option, doctors explained that the amount of chemotherapy Edie would need to kill the tumor would poison her tiny body. Ashleigh and Stephen, a builder, were devastated and felt powerless to help their first-born…
Out Of Options
“Radiotherapy would alleviate symptoms, make her more comfortable and ease any pain but we would inevitably still lose her,” Ashleigh explained. “We were told by our doctors to go home and make memories with the family,” the mother of 3 added.
A Glimmer Of Hope
However, Ashleigh and Stephen refused to give up on their daughter without a fight and spent hours searching for experimental or cutting edge treatments that might help Edie. Eventually, the couple found a team of doctors across the world that gave them a glimmer of hope…
An Experimental Treatment
The couple discovered a team at The Instituto de Oncología Intervencionista clinic in Monterrey, Mexico that had developed a new treatment for DIPG utilizing both chemotherapy and intra-arterial immunotherapy that targets the tumor through the arteries.
One Big Problem
Normally, chemotherapy affects the entire body, which is why it can be so brutal for patients. But with the new treatment, the drugs are administered straight into an artery in the neck, which allows the cancer-killing drugs to go straight to the tumor. The only downside is that the treatment is still experimental meaning it is incredibly expensive and isn’t covered by the NHS…
According to Edie’s parents, each treatment costs £30,000, or about $40,000. Despite the cost, they signed Edie up for treatment and started raising funds. “Please support us in any way you can, even if it’s just telling people all about the disease,” the couple explained in their online fundraiser. “At the moment, we don’t know how many treatments Edie is going to need so we’re hoping to raise at least £700,000 to cover the cost.”
A Promising Start
Once they had raised enough for the first treatment, the couple flew to Mexico in January 2018 and Edie started her first round of treatment, which Edie seemed to respond well to. “The most recent MRI scan shows a small amount of shrinkage, a massive step as we were previously told the tumor was stable,” Edie’s parents explained…
A Mystery Donor
While the initial scans are promising, Edie still needs more rounds of costly treatment in Mexico. Recently, however, the couple got more miraculous news when they found out that a mysterious stranger donated £250,000, or more than $325,000 after hearing about the family’s fight when Edie was given the honorary 41st place at the Randox Health Grand National, a horse race in England.
A Huge Relief
The family still has to raise more funds, but the generous donation ensures that Edie can continue to receive treatment. “We were thrilled to get her name out there and thanks to them, there has been an anonymous donation,” the family explained. “This has taken a lot of stress away from the family and allowed us to breathe a little bit more. However, crucial funding is still needed and we will continue to work towards our fundraising goal.”