A young girl who is fighting neuroblastoma has been enjoying her first few weeks at school - something her family feared would never happen.
Jorgie Rae Griffiths joined Kirkham and Wesham Primary School earlier this month and began attending full days last week.
The four-year-old from Wesham, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in April 2016, has shown great improvements following specialist treatment at The Helen Devos children’s hospital in Michigan. She has been undergoing difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) which could potentially give her an extra percentage on her life.
Doctors are now hoping she will only need one more session early next year to complete the process.
With Jorgie feeling a lot stronger, she has been able to lead a normal life, enjoying a family holiday to Turkey and she has now settled into primary education.
Her grandmother, Carole McCabe, said: “Jorgie has been for treatment in America six times now. The last visit was in August before she started school. Everything went very well, with no growth on the two tumours she has, and no further tumours have grown.
“The doctors in America are very pleased with her progress and we couldn’t be any more ecstatic.
“Each visit is nerve wracking and apprehensive for the family.
“As it stands now, if everything is okay when she goes to see her consultant at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (RMCH), then she can miss the visit to America in December.
“Her next visit to America would be in February 2020 and that hopefully is the end of the treatment trial.
“After that, she will continue to be monitored at RMCH, as the cancer has 70 to 80 per cent chance of relapsing within five years.
“At the moment she is doing great, she is like any normal child, cheeky and mischievous.
“Jorgie is always happy and nothing phases her. Anything that is thrown at her, she deals with determination and a big smile.
“This year Jorgie and her family have had a week-long holiday in Turkey, which was much needed family time.
“She was invited to be guest of honour and cut the ribbon for the start of the York Relay for Life last month.
“We met so many inspirational people there, many who are battling cancer or know someone with cancer and of course the survivors. “Jorgie started school earlier this month and she has settled in really well. This is something we never thought we would see.
“If we cast our minds back to November and December 2016 when she was so poorly in an induced coma, we thought we had lost her. So for her to be going to school now, is just a dream come true.”
Jorgie was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in April 2016 after her parents, Lauren McCabe, 31, and Barry Griffiths, 58, saw a small lump on the side of her nose. Further scans and tests revealed that she had tumours in both her head and chest. She had therapy treatment at RMCH, but was told she needed specialist treatment in America to help prevent any relapses.
As the family needed to find £200,000 to meet costs, a fund-raising page was set up in 2017 and the community has rallied round to organise events and make donations.
Carole adds: “Fund-raising has continued this year and we are in a really good position. I don’t know what the total is so far, but we have enough for one more treatment, which is about £12,000. We cannot thank every person who has raised money or given a donation, but we are forever grateful.”
Every day, at least 12 children and young people get the news they have cancer.
Each September Childhood Cancer Awareness Month helps to highlight the impact of cancer on young people and their family.
People are encouraged to wear a gold ribbon, in support of all the families whose cancer journey is still ongoing.
Neuroblastoma UK is selling gold ribbons for a £1 donation, or if people make a donation of £3, they will receive a limited edition, ribbon charm bracelet. Visit www.neuroblastoma.org.uk/childhood-cancer-awareness-month.
Clic Sargent is selling gold ribbons online via www./shop.clicsargent.org.uk/ or at JD Wetherspoon pubs and select H Samuel and Ernest Jones stores.
People can also show support by donating pre-loved, quality clothes, homeware and accessories to TK Maxx, in Preston, Burnley and Blackpool, or Cancer Research UK shops across Lancashire.