WHEN little Isabelle Grundy woke up in the night complaining of a sore tummy, her mum thought it was down to the suspected bug she had been off school with.
But as her condition got worse, mum Louisa Moss found a lump on the left side of her little girl's stomach.
The 33-year-old said the symptoms had been quite sudden and that before that evening, she had noticed that her six-year-old daughter was a little bit tired.
Louisa, who lives in Thornton-Cleveleys in Lancashire, explained that the lump on Isabelle's stomach hadn't been obvious.
She said she knew there and then that it wasn't going to be good news, but at the same time, said she had doubts about what could be wrong with her little girl.
Isabelle was seen by her local GP, hospital medics and specialists before being diagnosed with High Risk, Stage 4 Neuroblastoma and the little girl has now been living with the illness for six months.
Neuroblastoma is a rare form of cancer that mostly affects babies and young children. It develops in nerve cells that have been left behind from their development in the womb.
Since her diagnosis Isabelle has had to have a number of treatments, including chemotherapy, blood and platelet transfusions and a variety of scans.
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Alongside this, she has also had to have surgery to remove a small section of her tumour, which was removed through stem cell harvest and transplant.
Isabelle had been responding well to the treatment and has had 90 rounds of chemotherapy and five rounds of intense chemotherapy.
But sadly just before Christmas, Isabelle became unwell and was struggling to pass urine.
Mum Louisa told LancsLive: "She just looked so poorly, she was wanting to sleep a lot- she went for an ultrasound on Christmas Eve morning and they found she was full of fluid.
"It was heartbreaking, it was awful. It was just me and Isabelle's big brother on Christmas morning so we Facetimed daddy and Isabelle was completely oblivious.
"She was fast asleep at the time which she was like the majority of the time. We have such a big family so not seeing any our family at Christmas was hard – we didn't want them to come up here because of Covid we just had to be so careful who we were mixing with. We can't really say it was Christmas at all, it was just horrible."
Neuroblastoma is a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer, with around only 100 children being diagnosed in the UK each year.
Symptoms of neuroblastoma
Neuroblastoma affects around 100 children each year in the UK and is most common in children under the age of five.
The NHS says symptoms of neuroblastoma vary depending on where the cancer is and whether it's spread.
The early symptoms can be vague and hard to spot, and can easily be mistaken for those of more common childhood conditions.
Symptoms can include:
- a swollen, painful tummy, sometimes with constipation and difficulty peeing
- breathlessness and difficulty swallowing
- a lump in the neck
- blueish lumps in the skin and bruising, particularly around the eyes
- weakness in the legs and an unsteady walk, with numbness in the lower body, constipation and difficulty peeing
- fatigue, loss of energy, pale skin, loss of appetite and weight loss
- bone pain, a limp and general irritability
- rarely, jerky eye and muscle movements
In half of those cases, the cancer has already spread widely. It is the same cancer that claimed the life of Bradley Lowery, and little Henry Allen.
Neuroblastoma has a 50 per cent survival rate and Isabelle's family are looking into various treatment options for their little girl.
As part of their research, the family has found a vaccination that is given in the US, which could reduce the risk of the cancer returning.
But the cost of the treatment and the trip to New York will cost a staggering £280,000, as the treatment could last over two years.
The family have set up a JustGiving page and have so far raised over £78,000.
Posting on the page, the family said: "Although Isabelle’s treatment is going to plan at the moment, things can change unexpectedly and we need to be prepared for this.
"Never in a million years did we ever think our family would be in this situation, our world has been completely turned upside down.
"All donations great or small mean the world to us!"
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