Courageous two-year-old Anya Bentham could be one step closer to recovery after being offered a rare opportunity to join a European-wide immunotherapy trial.
The toddler, who is originally from Connah’s Quay but now lives in Waverton, Chester, has been battling neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer, since October last year.
In July, tests results gave Anya the all-clear from the cancer, yet parents Naomi Stanley and Graeme Bentham explained the fight was not yet over as the disease has a high return rate.
They hoped the Anya Bentham Appeal would raise £250,000 to send their daughter to America for life-saving immunotherapy treatment, which at the time was not available in the UK.
Last month, the family was told Anya had been offered a place on a European-wide immunotherapy trial – with the added bonus she could receive the treatment at Alder Hey.
The offer means Anya will no longer need to travel to the US and could start the much-needed treatment as early as November.
Parents Naomi and Graeme said: “This is bittersweet for us. It’s good that Anya can be treated in the UK in a hospital she knows, but it is sad that she’s only qualified because the disease is proving so hard to shift.”
Anya has become eligible for a limited number of places (up to 140) on a trial funded in this country by Cancer Research UK.
It focuses specifically on refractory disease or relapsed neuroblastoma. When Anya’s appeal was first launched, she did not qualify.
Naomi and Graeme said: “The trial is fairly new, with no published results, but it aims to reduce side effects and make the immunotherapy more successful.
“We have battled with this decision for a couple of weeks but feel sure now that it’s the best path to take.”
Because the treatment is fully funded, Anya’s appeal funds will be held within the national cancer charity, Neuroblastoma Children’s Cancer Alliance UK (NCCA UK) for five years. If after five years the funds are no longer needed, they will be used to support another family, or at Naomi and Graeme’s discretion, go towards neuroblastoma research.
A summer ball will take place on Friday, September 20, at the Hilton Doubletree, Chester, in aid of Anya’s Appeal. There will be a gala dinner, auction, disco and live entertainment. For tickets call 01244 478 777 or email email@example.com.