Four-year-old girl has just months to raise £100,000 for cancer vaccine

Michael Drummond, PA South East Correspondent

A four-year-old girl needs to raise just over £100,000 in less than four months to fund a potentially life-saving cancer vaccine.

Nellie-Rose Culleton is undergoing gruelling treatment for stage four neuroblastoma, a rare disease affecting around 100 UK children each year.

Her family were hit with heartbreaking news last year when she was diagnosed with the potentially fatal cancer days before the country went into lockdown.

Her treatment is expected to end in May but her mother Leighann Lynes knows there is a high chance the cancer could return in the future, leaving her with a less than 10% chance of survival.

Nellie-Rose Culleton illiness
Nellie-Rose Culleton (Family handout)

Nellie-Rose’s family have been desperately trying to raise enough money to take her to New York for a potentially life-saving vaccine that could stop the cancer coming back.

But the exciting treatment comes with a hefty price tag, and fundraising has been severely hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.

So far the family have raised around £81,000 against a target of £182,000.

Ms Lynes, 28, from Maidstone, Kent, says that from the end of treatment in May – just three-and-a-half months away – her daughter will have 21 days in order to get to New York for the vaccine.

She told the PA news agency: “It’s really stressful, we have still got so much more money to raise.

“I know Covid is a really, really hard for everyone at the moment but at some point our lives are going to be back to relatively normal, whereas if I don’t get Nellie out to America for this vaccine and this cancer comes back our lives will never go back to normal.

“I want her to be at school everyday for the next 18 years but if we can’t get out there for this vaccine then the chances of that drop dramatically.”

When Nellie-Rose was struggling to walk last year, doctors initially thought she had irritable hip.

But two days before the nation was plunged into lockdown in March 2020, she was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma.

Ms Lynes all the donations to Nellie-Rose’s campaign so far “restores your faith in humanity”.

“I am just excited to watch her blossom out of a hospital room.”

Nellie-Rose’s fundraiser can be accessed here: https://www.solvingkidscancer.org.uk/appeal/nellierose

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