An estate agent and his wife have launched an urgent appeal in an attempt to save the life of their two-year-old daughter Florence. The appeal has met with an extraordinary response from kind-hearted strangers within just two days.
Florence has a rare cancer and was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma just over a year ago, when she was 16 months old.
Doctors in this country continue to persevere but the situation is grim after the family were told her cancer is inoperable.
However her father Rodney Jackson, a negotiator at Proctors in West Wickham, Kent, and his wife Carolyn are refusing to give up.
In their race against time, the couple have found a neuroblastoma surgeon in New York, and have now launched an appeal on Just Giving to raise the £250,000 needed in order to take Florence to America and have an operation.
By yesterday, within two days of the appeal being launched, some £85,000 had been raised, with contributions from over 3,600 people – most of them complete strangers moved by the family’s plight.
Since her diagnosis, Florence has been treated at the Royal Marsden.
The toddler has had 20 rounds of chemotherapy, major surgery, a stem cell transplant and five weeks of radiotherapy, topped off with immunotherapy which should have finished her treatment.
“Sadly our hopes that Florence could soon start enjoying a life free of cancer were cruelly dashed in November,” the couple write on Just Giving.
“A routine CT scan showed that the tumour was growing again, despite everything that had been thrown at it.
“And a recent follow-up scan in January has shown that the tumour has spread into her stomach and has wrapped around her blood vessels.
“As a result the doctors have told us the tumour is too dangerous to remove and there’s nothing more they can do.
“But we can. And we will. We owe it to Florence to fight on, just as she is bravely doing. But we have to act fast.”
The couple say that the surgeon they have found in New York has “a fantastic” record of successfully treating cases similar to Florence’s – “cases that other doctors have given up hope on”.
Dad Rodney is currently on leave from work. His supportive employer last year marked its 70th anniversary by donating £70 to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity for every property instruction it received for 70 days.
This is the story that puts everything else into perspective.
If any kind EYE reader would like to donate to the Jackson family’s new appeal – and the family stress that donations both large and small will be incredibly welcome and could make all the difference – they can do so here: