The parents of a brave teenager battling a rare cancer are in a race to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds so she can travel to America for potentially life-saving surgery.
Kira Noble was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that attacks the nerve cells, at the age of 11 after complaining of abdominal pain, and has endued years of exhausting treatments in an effort to beat the disease.
Now 14 and having battled the disease three times Kira has been approved for pioneering treatment at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York.
Her mother, Aud, said: This is the stuff nightmares are made of. I’m feeling so scared, I have to remind myself to breathe. Childhood and teenage cancer doesn’t discriminate and it just happens to be Kira who’s had this monster of a disease three times.”
Solving Kids Cancer, a charity which supports families affected by neuroblastoma, has been helping the family since 2016 and is gathering the costings for the trip that look likely to hit hundreds of thousands of pounds. Not only does the treatment need to be paid for but also flights, accommodation, local travel and a daily allowance for the family.
After her initial diagnosis, Kira underwent 15 months of chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy before going into remission in October 2015.
But only a few months later, in early 2016, Kira and her family were dealt the shock news that the cancer had returned.
Thankfully, by the end of the year she was in remission once again and was delighted to be nominated for and eventually win a prestigious Diana Award for her work helping other young cancer sufferers through her Facebook page “Kira the Machine” and in hospital.
A routine scan in 2017 once again alerted the family, from Craiglockhart, that the cancer was back – what was left of Kira’s tumour was growing again and malignant.
The brave teen had another round of chemo as part of a clinical trial in Glasgow, but sadly after five months of treatment, tests showed that the cancer was still progressing.
In January, Kira underwent another major operation in an effort to remove the remaining tumour, but the surgery was unsuccessful and the mass was still growing.
Kira’s parents, Aud and Ronnie, along with her oncologist found a world-renowned specialist surgeon whose expertise lies in removing the most tricky of tumours.
After Kira’s doctors consulted with the American expert, a review process determined if he could take on the case. He assessed medical records, including images, and detailed reports before giving the go-ahead.
They desperately hope that he can remove the remaining growth and Kira can life a life free of cancer.
Kira is excited by the possible trip, saying: “It has always been a dream of mine to visit New York. Never did I imagine that would visit the city for life-saving surgery but it doesn’t get more special than getting my life back.”
Vicky Inglis, family co-ordinator at Solving Kids Cancer, is confident that Kira’s fundraising target will be met.
She says: “We have successfully helped over 30 families secure the funding needed for treatment.
“Kira’s case is unique in that we are fundraising before we have the final costings, but timing is crucial so we couldn’t wait any longer to launch it.”
It is not yet clear how long Kira will need to stay in America but the charity will be supporting her every step of the way.
The inspirational teen is determined to beat the cancer. She said: “I could complain but where would that get me? I have relapsed neuroblastoma and I need to go through the treatment. There’s just no choice other than to keep going.”
You can donate at https://solvingkidscancer.org.uk/campaigns/kira or text KIRA89 and your amount £1-£10 to 70070