Big-hearted donors leapt into action to help save the life of five-year-old Chester girl Erin Cross by smashing through the £100,000 fundraising target in one day to pay for vital treatment in America.
In an astonishing show of public generosity, people from all over the world have donated money at almost £100 a minute to help the Cross family from Upton raise enough money to give Erin lifesaving treatment from the USA to help her beat the acute lymphoblastic leukaemia she has suffered from since the age of two.
Her parents Antony and Sarah this week issued a desperate plea to the public to help them raise enough money for Erin to undergo Car T Cell therapy which is only available in America, within a time frame of just eight weeks.
The brave youngster’s only hope of survival is a bone marrow transplant, but without this lifesaving treatment, she would be too ill to get one.
Within just 24 hours of Erin’s story going viral, around £90,000 was raised via public donations to Erin’s fundraising page, meaning the Cross family’s dreams of taking their daughter to America have now become a reality.
Erin’s mum Sarah said she and her husband are ‘truly overwhelmed’ at the kindness of strangers from across the globe, and said she hoped scheduled fundraising events would still go ahead, even though the initial target has now been reached.
“Words cannot express how much your support has meant to us in getting us to £100,000,” she said. “The original target of £100,000 was advised to us as an amount to aim for, which seemed impossible but thanks to every single one of you we are there now and we know that the online donations will continue to come in for some time as will the offers of help and support.
“This is brilliant news as we are not exactly sure of the costs and they could, of course, be over £100,000, particularly with follow up clinic appointments that we will need to travel to the USA.
“However, if there is at any point money that Erin does not need, we have always stated that this will go into leukaemia research at Alder Hey and hopefully this will bring an end to a situation like this for other families,” added Sarah.
“We would love people to still carry on with plans if they are happy to do so and hopefully those who do will be able to enjoy volunteering together with the thought that the main pressure is off.”
Erin had already completed three years of leukaemia treatment after she was first diagnosed in 2012, and her parents hoped and prayed she had come through the worst.
But in a cruel twist of fate, she relapsed in March this year and has since had to go undergo months of intensive treatment at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where doctors told Sarah and Antony that chemotherapy alone wouldn’t be enough to cure her - she needed a bone marrow transplant.
However, in order to get one, Erin needs to be in remission, and this will only be possible by undergoing Car T Cell therapy within eight weeks.
There is currently only one centre in the UK running this trial at the moment, which recruits just one child per month nationwide, so her only hope is receiving it from the USA, which she now has the opportunity to get.
After seeing how the world has taken Erin to their hearts, an emotional Sarah said: “All the support has helped us hit the headlines which is not just good news for our appeal but also for every other family in a similar situation.
“The awareness has gone through the roof, not just in the media but also with the clinical teams which we and other families are grateful for.
“You have all offered so much and we are so very, very grateful.”