Brave Chester schoolgirl Erin Cross suffered a stroke only weeks before she was due to fly to America for lifesaving leukaemia treatment, it has been revealed.
Sarah and Antony Cross from Upton did not publicly share the news at the time because they feared they were going to lose five-year-old Erin, but mercifully, thanks to the efforts of staff at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, she was able to make a full recovery in 48 hours.
Now Erin is undergoing Car T Cell therapy at Seattle Children’s Hospital, following a huge campaign of public support, which saw the Chester community rally together to raise the hundreds of thousands of pounds needed to pay for the treatment.
Sarah wrote on Facebook: “We thought it was all over, and that Erin wouldn’t be able to receive her treatment in Seattle. The symptoms came on very quickly and she lost all feeling down her left side. However the team at Alder Hey worked wonders and because of them she made a complete recovery over 48 hours.
“Since then she has been on heparin and then warfarin to thin her blood and prevent any more problems happening. It’s been difficult because I’ve had to learn how to do finger prick blood tests on Erin who has severe procedural anxiety, but we managed to get through it.”
Erin, who is the first ever patient from Alder Hey to receive Car T Cell therapy, has now completed the first part of her immunotherapy trial which will train her immune system to recognise leukaemia cells and destroy them.
The process will take up to four weeks, during which time Erin will stay in Seattle receiving chemotherapy at the hospital to keep her leukaemia at bay while she waits to undergo a bone marrow test to see if the treatment has worked.
Sarah told The Chronicle: “We are praying so hard for it to work and her consultant here is confident that the procedure will work and that Erin will get back into remission.
“After the T cell harvest today Erin is feeling a bit sore and exhausted but she is having a good rest in our room at Ronald McDonald House on the hospital doorstep.
“Since we arrived in Seattle she has remained her usual fun loving self and hasn’t let anything get her down. Everyone loves her over here because she is so relaxed in a hospital environment and loves joking around with the staff.”
Sarah added: “We just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone at home again for their continued support. The fundraising is still going ahead at full speed and up to now over £260,000 has been raised by Erin’s appeal which is staggering.
“Any funds that are not used for Erin’s initial treatment and follow up treatment in Seattle will go towards the leukaemia research taking place at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. We want to do everything we can to help the process of making this treatment more available in the UK, so families don’t have to go through what we’ve had to.”