UK 'must be cautious' of new coronavirus variants says expert
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Claudia, seven, from Bootle, complained that she had a sore throat and difficulty swallowing on February 11. The bubbly schoolgirl did not appear to have any other symptoms until she fell ill in school later that day, where teachers said she lost her balance. Panic-stricken, Claudia was rushed to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where doctors found fluid on her brain.
An emergency operation the next day revealed the devastating diagnosis that she had a brain tumour.
Her heartbroken mum was told that due to the position of the tumour on Claudia’s brain, it was inoperable.
Doctors have outlined that Claudia could have a month to live without treatment, or 9-12 months with radiotherapy.
Claudia’s cousin, Natalie Banks, told the Liverpool Echo that the family’s lives “have been torn apart.
“I don’t think anyone, especially Alison, can comprehend it. Ali is praying for a miracle like we all are.
“There’s never a good time for this to happen but right now it’s the worst time with Covid.
“Robin (Claudia’s twin brother) can’t even go up and see her because only one person is allowed in the hospital at one time and Robin is only seven so he can’t go in by himself.
“I think it’s different when it’s a twin to when it’s siblings. They’ve never ever been apart, it’s heartbreaking to watch.”
The tumour, called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Giloma (DIPG), is an aggressive, fast growing type of brain cancer which commonly affects children.
Clinical trials for DIPG at Great Ormond Street Hospital have been put on hold until 2022 due to the pandemic. Devastatingly, this will be too late for Claudia.
The family are appealing for help in finding any other clinical trials for this type of cancer to help prolong her life.
Claudia will now undergo radiotherapy at Clatterbridge Hospital in Wirral with doctors drawing up a treatment plan.
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Ms Banks said: “This was the toughest decision Alison has ever had to make but she opted for treatment in the hope that there could be a clinical trial, or miracle. She just wanted to give her little girl a chance.”
Ms Banks says that Claudia is still in high spirits although she now has to use a wheelchair as the right side of her body has been affected.
There is a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the family and allow them to make special memories together.
Claudia’s bucket list includes going to the zoo and travelling in a limousine with her twin brother Robin.
Additional reporting by Charlotte Hadfield.
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