Isla Caton: Family of little girl with rare childhood cancer neuroblastoma raise £150,000 to get lifesaving treatment

The family of a little girl battling a rare form of childhood cancer have raised £150,000 in an effort to get her lifesaving treatment at a New York hospital.

Three-year-old Isla Caton, from Hornchurch in east London, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in March last year.

Isla was given a 40 per cent chance of survival by doctors when the aggressive disease spread to her bones and bone marrow.

She has undergone months of gruelling treatment, including intense chemotherapy and radiotherapy and surgery to remove tumours.

Isla Caton and mum Nicola

Isla, who doctors say now has a 60 per cent chance of beating the disease, will undergo immunotherapy until the summer.

After that her family is hoping to take her to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York – the only hospital in the world offering a treatment that they hope will save her life.

Mark Noble of West Ham United holds Isla Caton at West Ham v Bournemouth earlier this month (Getty Images)

Through fundraising events and a campaign to raise awareness of the disease – which young Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery also suffered from – £150,000 of £200,000 needed to get her to America has been raised.

What is neuroblastoma

Neuroblastoma is a rare type of cancer that mostly affects babies and young children.

It develops from specialised nerve cells (neuroblasts) left behind from a baby’s development in the womb.

Neuroblastoma most commonly occurs in one of the adrenal glands situated above the kidneys, or in the nerve tissue that runs alongside the spinal cord in the neck, chest, tummy or pelvis.

It can spread to other organs such as the bone marrow, bone, lymph nodes, liver and skin.

It affects around 100 children each year in the UK and is most common in children under the age of 5.

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Isla started showing symptoms of the disease in January last year before doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital diagnosed her with stage four cancer in March.

Her mother Nicola Caton told the Standard that doctors initially passed off the disease as a viral infection.

She said: “She started suffering from a high temperature and she was just very lethargic.

“Then she became worse. She wasn’t able to get up, she stopped eating.

“She was rolling around in agony and rubbing her legs in pain.”

Isla’s cause has been supported by the Bradley Lowery Foundation in attempts to get the vital funds for the urgent treatment abroad.

Isla Caton, with mum Nicola and dad Michael

Meanwhile Nicola said football clubs West Ham, Tottenham and Millwall have also been helping – Isla was West Ham’s mascot in their match against Bournemouth two weeks ago.

She will undergo immunotherapy treatment until July and when this is complete, her family is hoping she will be given the all clear.

However the disease frequently returns, and it is hoped bivalent vaccine treatment in New York, threapy which involves the injection of an antibody, will prevent this from happening.

Mrs Capon said: “She has done amazingly. She’s fought back like a lion, she’s got the heart of a lion, everything she has taken in her stride.

“I couldn’t be prouder of her. She’s always got a smile on her face and that makes it so much easier for all of us.

“If Isla is singing and dancing, if she’s smiling, why should any of us have anything to complain about?

“She’s missed out on so much – she couldn’t go to the park last year, she’s missed out on birthday parties, but she’s still really happy. She’s amazing.”

Visit Isla’s fundraising page here.

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