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Well-wishers rally for £500k Fraja Ellie appeal
SCORES of well-wishers have pledged to help raise £500,000 towards life-saving treatment for a four-year-old girl battling a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer.
Afghanistan war veteran Garry Simpson - whose daughter Fraja is undergoing treatment for MCYN amplified neuroblastoma - said he and wife, Michelle, are overwhelmed by the initial response to the Fraja Ellie Appeal after The Northern Echo highlighted her plight.
Fraja, who was yesterday (Monday, March 4) completing a 24-hour chemotherpay session, will have a much higher chance of avoiding a relapse if she can fly to the United States for a range of pioneering drug treatments unavailable on the NHS.
However, the US treatment must take place within 100 days of healthy stem cells being reintroduced into her bone marrow as part of her gruelling UK treatment. Her family has just five months to raise the money.
The Leeming RAF Community Primary School pupil has been in an isolation unit at Leeds General Infirmary since last Wednesday and her parents have maintained a round-the-clock vigil as she is struggling with the anti-sickness drugs.
Mrs Simpson, of Gatenby, near Bedale, said while Fraja was looking forward to coming out of isolation, she was desperately missing her classmates and being unable to go to school.
“Fraja has managed to eat one small triangle of toast today and sip a little of water that is fantastic, as she is now fed through a tube.
“We showed her the pictures of her in The Northern Echo and she smiled and was delighted when we said so many people are wishing her well. She asked if they could all come to her birthday party.”
Mr Simpson, originally from Consett, County Durham, said: “This week is going to be telling to say the least, particularly as Fraja will be having scans to see if the chemotherapy is working to shrink her tumour.”
He said while he and Michelle were spending much of their time in hospital a team of volunteers had agreed to help co-ordinate the fundraising.
He said: “We have been astounded by the amount of support and generosity everyone has shown and we are truly grateful.”
Among those pledging to raise funds has been father-of-three and Iraq veteran Paul Raper, of Darlington, who has begun training to run a 45-mile round trip from Darlington to Leeming and back to Darlington.
Two nurses from Durham School will ride a tandem and collect donations along a 50-mile route from the school from 8am on Saturday.
For details about the campaign, visit facebook.com/FrajaEllieAppeal. Donations can be sent to the Fraja Elllie Appeal, Yorkshire Bank, sort code 050631, account number 35520051, or by Paypal on firstname.lastname@example.org