Little Breya has been fighting high-risk neuroblastoma since the age of 2. She now needs 8 vital scans not provided on the NHS, to regularly check that she’s still ok and act quickly if she’s not.
In January 2017 a tumour was initially discovered on Breya’s adrenal gland and grew to consume the whole of her stomach, spreading to her bones and bone marrow too.
But now Breya’s completed frontline treatment in the UK which included intense chemotherapy, a 14-hour operation, radiotherapy, more chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and immunotherapy.
“It’s been the hardest 18 months of my life and we’ve spent the majority of it wondering how we would make it through one day to the next,” says Holly, Breya’s mum.
“Breya has suffered mental and physical pain and trauma – how she has come out of it smiling I will never know.”
Devastatingly around 40-50% of children with high-risk neuroblastoma will relapse and once that happens, less than 1 in 10 will survive for more than 5 years.
The focus then for Breya’s family is to do everything to prevent the cancer from returning. After 2 years of fundraising, they have enough to access the Bivalent Vaccine trial at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
But they still need your help. Breya needs 8 PET/CT scans over the next 2 years – not provided by the NHS – which will cost £24,000. Not only do they capture any sign of a relapse at the earliest stage, they are also a requirement of the Bivalent Vaccine trial.
“She deserves a happy normal life like every other child. She deserves her first day at school, to grow old and realise the world is more than hospital wards, chemo bags and endless jabs.”
“Breya is a hero. She fights each and every day with a smile on her face – she has gone through more than any adult I know and nothing ever gets her down. Her life is worth more than all the money in the world – please support us with her fight for survival and a long happy future.”
Breya was born a very healthy baby, never having any health conditions. She started nursery like any other child, but mum, Holly, started to notice Breya was catching bug after bug.
“People assured me it was very normal but it just seemed to be one thing after another, I was taking her to the GP almost every week and she had at least ten courses of antibiotics.”
Breya started to become very unsettled at night, sweating and being sick. She was taken to A&E on two occasions as she was so hot and struggled to breathe.
“It was so hard as a first-time mum, doing a lot of it alone with my partner away with work. I just wasn’t sure what to do. All the doctors kept saying was this was all typical toddler bugs and not to worry too much.”
Holly began to believe it was a milk allergy causing all of the problems and made more sense when Breya’s stomach started to swell.
“Her behaviour started to change and she became so withdrawn. I pushed and pushed for a blood test, which showed she was anaemic, but I was told to take her to hospital for further checks. Within a few hours, an oncology specialist sat us down and said the words ‘solid tumour’. They shot through me but even then I’m not sure they sank in,” continues Holly.
After a further week of tests, Breya was diagnosed with stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma which had spread to her bones. Over the next few weeks, Breya’s health went from bad to worse as she began chemotherapy.
Then there was a 14-hour operation, radiotherapy, more chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and immunotherapy. Plus complications like an aneurysm in her hip and a severe bone infection in her foot.
But Breya was free from cancer and the family fundraised so they could do everything in their power to keep things that way. They decided to access the Bivalent Vaccine clinical trial with the support of Solving Kids’ Cancer, and Breya has already travelled to New York to start the treatment.
“I don’t know how any of us made it through those first few months, especially Breya, out the other side so strong and happy – she will forever be my inspiration because of this,” says Holly.
Breya’s fundraising campaign
As Breya’s family know, neuroblastoma is an aggressive and complex cancer to treat and they must do everything they can to stop it coming back. The Bivalent Vaccine clinical trial may help with that but a requirement to continue on the trial is 8 scans, and they aren’t being provided by the NHS. They are now raising £24,000 these scans to regularly check she’s ok and act quickly if she’s not. If Breya does not use the funds for treatment, all money raised will go to Solving Kids’ Cancer and their charitable work in funding research and supporting other families against neuroblastoma.
How you can help
There are many ways you can help Breya: making a personal donation, holding a fundraising event, or getting sponsored to take on a challenge.
Download our free Breya resources (below) to support your fundraising, and click here for even more resources, including fundraising ideas, templates and guidance.
To donate by text, send “BREYA” followed by any whole amount up to £20 to 70085. This will cost your donation plus your standard network charge. It won’t matter if you leave a space before the number, if you include a ‘£’ sign or whether you use upper or lower case.
If you’d like help supporting Breya’s campaign, please get in touch with the fundraising team on 0207 284 0800 and firstname.lastname@example.org.