Four months to raise more than £300,000 for West Yorkshire girl's cancer battle

4 Year old Beau's family are trying to raise £300K for cancer treatment
Five-year-old Beau's family have to raise £300,000 in just four months for lifesaving treatment Credit: Solving Kids with Cancer

The family of a five-year-old girl from West Yorkshire who has an aggressive form of cancer are facing a race against time to raise more than £300,000 for lifesaving treatment.

In December 2020, at just four years-old, Beau was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma, a rare childhood form of the disease. Her family, of Roberttown in Liversedge, were told she had only a 50% chance of surviving long-term.

Since then, she has had twelve months of treatment that her mother, Shirley, describes as "gruelling" – including a stem cell transplant, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

But her family are now fundraising to give her the chance to join a vaccine trial at a hospital in America that they hope will improve her chances of a longer life.

The treatment is designed to teach the recipient's body to recognise and destroy neuroblastoma cancer cells, significantly improving their chances of remaining cancer free.

"Without this treatment the chance of Beau's cancer returning is high, and if neuroblastoma re-occurs then she has just a one in ten chance of surviving," Shirley said.

"Getting on this trial could give Beau life long protection, but only those with the money in the bank will be considered to take part."

Beau with her 10 year old sister Redd Credit: Family photograph

What is neuroblastoma?

Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer that affects children, mostly under the age of five.

It develops in early nerve cells called neuroblasts and often starts in the tummy. The most common symptom of neuroblastoma is a lump in the tummy.

Neuroblastoma has one of the lowest survival rates of all childhood cancers. The five-year survival rate for in children in England is 67%.

Surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are the main treatments.

Shirley said Beau's diagnosis came after she had been complaining of tummy ache. She could feel that her daughter's abdomen had gone hard at one side.

When surgeon's removed the tumour, it had grown to the size of a rugby ball. Tests revealed that the cancer had spread to her bones.

Beau giving her friends and family a "thumbs up" from hospital Credit: Family photograph

The family have already raised almost £80,000 of the £317,000 they need.

The treatment has to be given within 45 days of Beau's final scans, meaning the family must raise the remainder in just four months.

Shirley said: "As a family we have accepted our fight this year and Beau has taken everything that has been thrown at her, weathered the storm with grit and determination and come out fighting.

"She has without question earned her right to live and we will do anything we can to make that happen."  

The New York vaccine trial

Beau's family are fundraising so that she can access the Bivalent Vaccine trial in New York at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre.  

The aim of the vaccine is to trigger a response of the immune system against neuroblastoma by causing the patient's body to make antibodies to attack the cancer cells.

The New York cancer centre's website said the purpose of the trial was to find what dose of a substance within a vaccine can be given safely to children.

More than 250 children have so far taken part.

Charity Solving Kids' Cancer said neuroblastoma returns in almost 50% of children and if this happens, fewer than one in 10 will survive.

  • Beau's family have asked to keep their surname private