The parents of a toddler with a rare form of cancer have just over a month to raise £100,000 to get her life-saving treatment in America.
Chloe Balloqui, of Aylesford Street, Pimlico , was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in October last year but comes to the end of any treatment the NHS can provide in just a week and a half, following nearly seven months in hospital.
The three-year-old’s parents, Richard Balloqui and Karen Kallaste, both 33, are asking the public to help them raise £100,000 by January 10, 2015, to help pay for a pioneering drug being developed in Michigan at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital where 59 children are already receiving treatment. January 10, 2015 is the medical deadline for her to access the drug.
Chloe initially had an orange-sized tumour removed from her stomach last year but the cancer then spread into her bone marrow throughout her entire body and although she has been cancer free for a few months because of chemotherapy and immunotherapy, when her treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) ends in 10 days she will have a fifty per cent chance of the cancer returning.
Her mother, Karen, said: “As any parent would, we want to do whatever we can for our little girl. This treatment is our only opportunity to give her a chance but it will not be available in the UK until later next year or 2016 and we need it now so our only option is to go to the States.
“It’s also the least toxic option and Chloe has had so much toxicity in her body, this would be amazing if it could prevent the cancer returning.
“Chloe’s taken it so well and is a typical happy little girl but she needs much more sleep and has two tubes in her chest and one through her nose but she still brings light and laughter even during the most difficult days.
“The NHS and the consultant at Great Ormond Street, Dr Daniel Morganstern, and his team have been amazing and he’s very supportive of us going for this treatment as he understands we’d do anything for our children.”
Chloe’s brother, James, nine, has been supporting his sister by performing concerts for her and other patients at GOSH while the Pimlico community, where Karen and Richard grew up, has rallied around the youngster to raise over £15,500 in just 10 days but they still only have just over 40 days to raise £85,000 to get Chloe the treatment she needs.
The Neuroblastoma Children’s Cancer Alliance is helping raise awareness and chief executive Bettina Bungay-Balway, said: “The NCCA has spent £5 million in the past five years sending children like Chloe abroad for treatment but our work is increasingly about raising funds to help get more treatments based here in the UK. There’s a very long way to go – but treatments like the one Chloe hopes for are promised here which has to be a hopeful sign.”
A Santa Scoot event around St George’s Square, Pimlico will be taking place on December 7 from 12.30pm to raise money. Stalls will be there and tickets, £5 per child, include a goodie bag and Santa hat.