Girl’s cancer treatment under threat from coronavirus
A nine-year-old girl’s lifeline brain tumour treatment is under threat because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to her parents.
Eva Williams, from Wrexham, was diagnosed with a high-grade diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) two months ago.
The survival prognosis for this type of brain tumour – the deadliest type of childhood cancer – is eight to 12 months, cancer charity campaigners say.
Eva has undergone radiotherapy and her family have been told there are no further treatment options on the NHS.
Desperate to help their daughter, Eva’s parents, Paul Slapa and Carran Williams, are crowdfunding to raise the £250,000 needed for private treatment in New York.
Despite already raising £142,000 in just over a week, Covid-19 has put Eva’s potentially last treatment option in jeopardy, due to international travel restrictions.
Mr Slapa, whose family are being supported by the charity Brain Tumour Research, said: “It’s unimaginable to think that the coronavirus pandemic could mean Eva is unable to have this lifeline treatment.
“We’ve already raised so much, with help from celebrities backing our campaign including Matt Lucas and Jacqueline Wilson, and we cannot bear the thought of not being able to spend this on Eva’s treatment.
“We are in touch with New York University Langone Health, which is running the clinical trial, and we are struggling with the amount of uncertainty.
“Many people who are supporting Eva’s fundraiser have had to cancel fundraising events because of coronavirus and the outbreak has come at the worst possible time for our family.”
Eva had complained of dizziness and blurred vision before her diagnosis with DIPG on New Year’s Day.
After an optician’s appointment, she was referred to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, where a CT scan revealed a mass on her brain.
Mr Slapa added: “Eva is a beautiful, kind and caring little girl who has such a big heart.
“On New Year’s Day, our lives were turned upside down when our special little girl was diagnosed with a DIPG.
“The tumour is located in her brainstem, the part of the brain that controls breathing, swallowing and heart rate, meaning surgery isn’t an option, and as it grows there is a terrible outcome.
“DIPG is something no parent should ever have to face; there are facts which we couldn’t bring ourselves to share with Eva.
“We cannot believe there is no cure and her prognosis is just 12 months.
“Eva is an incredibly intuitive little girl, and so we have been as open as we feel that we can be, without sharing the prognosis. She accepts this for now.
“Carran and I have been overwhelmed by the donations we have received so far and are very grateful to all those who have donated.
“We can only hope coronavirus doesn’t destroy one of our last options to save our little girl.”
Hugh Adams, from Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are thinking of Eva and her family at this awful time and urge those touched by her story to back the family’s campaign.
“Coronavirus is having a huge impact on brain tumour patients and their families, with many having to self-isolate due to being immunosuppressed and treatments being postponed.”