More than £80,000 has been raised to help pay the medical bills and travel costs of a cancer-stricken child stranded in Mexico.
Olivia Downie, from Fraserburgh, was diagnosed with stage four Neuroblastoma three years ago - an aggressive form of childhood cancer that attacks the nervous system and can affect the lungs, skin and brain.
Her family raised thousands of pounds in order to fly her out to Mexico for “last ditch” treatment in a bid to save the youngster. That treatment has now failed and her family wish to get Olivia back to Scotland before she dies.
Following her first cycle of treatment, seven-year-old Olivia took a turn for the worse and doctors are now refusing her permission to fly back to Scotland without specialist medical support.
The family is now at Olivia’s bedside at the Angeles hospital in Tijuana. Olivia’s grandmother, Mary Downie, has now flown to the country to join the family.
On Thursday morning, the total on the youngster’s fundraising website stood at less than £15,000.
Following an emotional appeal by her family, however, it has jumped to more than £80,000 with more than 4500 kind donations.
It is understood a London-based firm has offered to fly the family home for £100,000, but charity Families Against Neuroblastoma - who arranged the Downie's trip - has told STV they can fly the family home for £65,000.
In addition to the flight cost, however, the family will still have to pay £24,000 for the clinic treatment in Mexico and a further £20,000 for hospital treatment - bringing the total to nearly £110,000.
Olivia’s uncle Kevin Downie said: “It’s a phenomenal amount of money to be raised in 24 hours. If any businesses in Aberdeen or further afield feel that they can get involved we would be really pleased as every penny counts.”
Fraserburgh and District councillor Brian Topping added: “My heartfelt feelings go out to Olivia and all the family - relations and friends. She’s a very special little girl and her whole story from the start to the present time has touched the hearts of people in and around Fraserburgh and a lot of people have donated money.
“Sadly, for specialised treatment she had to go to Mexico. We can all appreciate if it was your own child you are hoping and praying for a miracle.
“It is overwhelming, the kindness and compassion of people. Fraserburgh and the villages around about have always been generous for a worthy cause. It is fantastic to say the least the generosity of people in the town, the surrounding area and now the nation as a whole.
“The main thing is, as the family have said, she can gain enough strength to get flown home.
“I’m not surprised at the level of donations and would encourage anyone else out there [to donate] because we all want Olivia back home with her family. Our thoughts and prays are with Olivia’s family.”
Mr Topping added that he hoped a “rich benefactor or the national or UK Government” could step in to help.
“I take my hat off to everyone nationwide and hopefully we can reach that target sooner rather than later,” he added.
Speaking on Wednesday night, her father Stephen Downie said: “She’s in intensive care. She’s critical. She’s basically on a life support machine. The machine is helping her to breath and it’s not good. We don’t even know how we will get her home. That’s the biggest worry now.
“She’s unconscious. She has a drain pipe coming out of her left side to drain the fluid that is continuously going into her lungs.
“The doctors have said they can’t promise they will get her fit to fly but they will do their best.”
It is understood medics attempted to remove Olivia from her ventilator on Thursday but had to reattach the device after 15 minutes as the youngster’s lungs could not cope on their own.
Stephen added: “We’re just devastated. We came with so much hope, this was kind of the last throw of the dice for us but we came with hope because we know a family this treatment has worked for and then this happened, which was nothing to do with the treatment I don’t believe, it was just one of these things I think.
“[To get her home] it would mean the whole world, it would mean everything.”
To help OIivia go to her JustGiving page.
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