A rainbow-themed campaign has raised more than a quarter of a million pounds.
Doctors have confirmed that Mia Chambers is completely in remission and can start the drug her community helped pay for after an incredible rainbow-themed campaign.
The five-year-old girl travelled to America on Monday with her family to begin the treatment aimed at preventing her cancer from returning.
A rainbow-themed campaign has raised more than a quarter of a million pounds to help get Mia to Michigan so she can access the treatment, with rainbows becoming synonymous with Mia in her hometown of Merthyr Tydfil .
After making the journey to Michigan earlier this week, parents Josh and Kirsty faced one last hurdle before Mia’s access to the clinical trial was given the go-ahead.
After doctors in the UK were happy with Mia’s condition there was one more scan to go at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Michigan before Mia could begin the treatment, known as DFMO.
Mia’s family posted on Thursday: “The news all of Merthyr and ourselves has been waiting for, Helen DeVos (Children’s Hospital) has 100% confirmed that Mia is STILL in complete remission and starts the drug that all you wonderful people helped to get for her!
“We as a family are on top of the world with this news, to the future, it’s bright.”
A rainbow-themed campaign to raise funds to give the youngster access to a clinical trial – aimed at avoiding a relapse – has seen residents of Merthyr, and many parts of Wales, decorate their cars, businesses, and homes with rainbow-coloured ribbons.
In May it was announced that £170,000 had been raised for the little girl. Just three months later it was revealed last week that the total now stands at around £280,000.
Mia first became unwell in early 2016 when a cancerous lump was discovered in her stomach and she was taken to Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales in Cardiff.
Further tests confirmed the lump was stage four high-risk neuroblastoma – a rare type of cancer that mostly affects babies and young children.
Since the diagnosis Mia has been through a series of aggressive treatments and procedures including three months of intensive chemotherapy, surgery, a stem cell transplant and radiotherapy.
A spokeswoman for Solving Kids’ Cancer, who Mia’s family have been fundraising with, said: “We are so pleased that Mia is able to access the clinical trial in Michigan, realising her parents’ aspirations.
“Mia’s supporters have been backing her all the way and it’s thanks to them that this opportunity for Mia has been made possible.”
DFMO (difluoromethylornithine) is a drug used for African trypanosomiasis – an insect-borne parasitic disease of humans and other animals.
It is being tested in children with neuroblastoma in remission to see if it will prevent the cancer from recurring. DFMO inhibits ODC (ornithine decarboxylase), which is an enzyme essential for cancer cell growth.
Over the next two years Mia and her family will have to travel to Michigan every three months.
With cancer experts saying patients with neuroblastoma have a high rate of relapsing, Mia’s family believe her best chance of avoiding that is to undergo the clinical trial in the US.
Any funds raised above what is needed will be held for a period of five years post-treatment, which is due to end in 2019.
If Mia does not need additional funds the money will be used to help other children and families affected by neuroblastoma.
This article was first published by Wales Online.