The beginning of 2009 was a very special start for new mum, Joely as she welcomed her first baby girl, Kelli, into the world.
A much longed for daughter, Joely fell instantly in love with her new arrival. Just weeks after giving birth, Joely became worried when Kelli wouldn’t stop crying despite all attempts being made to calm Kelli down.
After numerous tests, Joely’s concerns were confirmed. Doctors told her that her beautiful baby girl had cancer. Kelli was just 3 months old.
“It was completely devastating. We didn’t know what to do,” says Joely.
While dealing with the shock, more difficult news came. Kelli’s cancer was diagnosed as neuroblastoma, a particularly aggressive childhood cancer.
Neuroblastoma is the most common cancer outside the brain in children under 5 years old. In most cases it is only diagnosed when it has already progressed to a late ‘high risk’ stage.
Little Kelli began treatment with chemotherapy immediately and after a year scans revealed there to be no evidence of disease. Kelli’s gruelling treatment regime, including chemotherapy, had been a success. The neuroblastoma had gone. However, Tom and Joely were told it was very likely to reappear.
For Kelli and her family, life slowly continued, away from hospital and the harsh treatment. Although aware that a diagnosis of high risk neuroblastoma brings with it an increased rate of relapse, Tom and Joely remained cautiously optimistic.
Tom and Joely were devastated in 2012 when routine scans revealed that their happy, fun loving 3 year old had relapsed. Neuroblastoma had returned.
“It is the worst nightmare possible. We just knew we had to fight for Kelli and stay strong to give her the best chance of life we could,” say Joely and Tom.
In an even more cruel twist of events, Tom himself was diagnosed with an inoperable cancerous brain tumour. The family learned that his condition was terminal at the same time as their daughter was recovering from treatment for relapsed neuroblastoma.
Tom, despite knowing he was dying, vowed to raise enough funds, to leave behind a lasting legacy for precious Kelli. These funds would be restricted for Kelli to use should she ever require further treatment for Neuroblastoma in the future. Tom and Kelli’s story went national and funds came flooding in to support the family in their quest. By early 2015, over £500,000 had been raised.
Joely and Tom thank everyone who has donated to Kelli’s previous Appeal but now Kelli and her family wish to help others.
Kelli, Tom and Joely have set up Kelli’s General Appeal for SKC . Raising funds through Kelli’s General Appeal will support SKC’s charitable activities which include helping other neuroblastoma families and research into curing and preventing this vile disease.
Tom and Joely say, “Kelli is currently well and enjoying school where she has many friends. She is a happy girl who loves to sing and dance, with a great love for music. Cancer has not held back Kelli’s determination to get on with life.”
Please make a donation to SKC to help Kelli and children like her. Every donation, no matter how small, will make a difference. If you can help by holding a fundraising event to raise funds, please contact the fundraising team at SKC on 020 7284 0800
Kelli’s parents are extremely grateful to everyone who has supported Kelli so far.
To make a donation to Kelli’s General Appeal for SKC you can visit www.justgiving.com/helpkelli
To donate via your mobile phone text STOP60 and your amount (£1 – £10) to 70070