The family of a three-year-old living with aggressive cancer are ramping up their fundraising efforts as they approach the August deadline to get their toddler on a potentially life saving clinical trial.
Flora Gentleman, from Aberlady, was just two-years-old when she was diagnosed with stage four high-risk neuroblastoma in April 2021 – a childhood cancer that has a 40 to 50 per cent chance of long-term survival.
Over the past year, Flora has already undergone eight rounds of chemotherapy, a seven-hour surgery to remove her tumour, five weeks of high dose chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant in isolation, and radiotherapy along with countless scans and tests, general anaesthetics, and blood transfusions that go hand in hand with receiving cancer treatment.
She has two cycles left of immunotherapy treatment and is scheduled to finish her NHS treatment in June.
Her family have been tirelessly appealing to raise £312,000 for Flora to access the bivalent vaccine trial at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York once frontline NHS treatment is completed, which aims to train the immune system to fight neuroblastoma cells, reducing the chance of a relapse.
Despite the most intense treatment regime of all cancers, neuroblastoma returns in up to half of all children diagnosed in its high risk form.
Flora’s mum, Stephanie Kent said: “We’re really feeling the heat now with us approaching our August deadline.
“We are sitting at just over £200,000 so we still have around £100,000 to go, with only a few months to raise it.
“We have a lot of fundraising events planned over the coming months including summer fayres, a Fairy Festival at Archerfield Walled Gardens at the end of May and a Ladies Night in North Berwick in July.”
Despite a year of gruelling treatment, Flora still faces around a 50 per cent chance of relapsing, and if she relapses she will have around a 10 per cent chance of long term survival.
Stephanie added: “When you bring a baby into the world, you have hopes and dreams for that child. You dream of their first day of school, their first holiday.
“A diagnosis like cancer, can take that all away. It’s really important we access this trial for Flora and we need help doing that.
“We need everyone to pull together over these next three months to ensure Flora will be on that flight to New York in August.
“Flora’s Fight” can be followed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and donations can be made on her Solving Kids’ Cancer fundraising page. https://www.solvingkidscancer.org.uk/appeal/flora