Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Church Crookham parents fight to save cancer girl

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Media captionSophie Roberts has a rare and aggressive form of liver and lung cancer.

A Hampshire couple are trying to raise £230,000 in three weeks in the hope of saving the life of their seriously ill two-year-old daughter.

Sophie Roberts has a rare and aggressive form of liver and lung cancer and surgeons in the UK say they cannot operate on her.

But a hospital in the US has said it will do the operation.

The surgery must be done by the end July so Andrew and Ruth Roberts have already remortgaged their home.

Image caption Surgeons in the UK say they are unable to operate on Sophie

So far they have raised more than £160,000, but still need to find £70,000.

Sophie was diagnosed in June 2011 with liver cancer - Hepatoblastoma - which had spread to the lungs and her family were told she had only a 30% chance of survival.

After enduring seven rounds of chemotherapy and liver and lung surgery, Sophie went into remission in March 2012.

But in early May the cancer was found to have returned aggressively throughout her lungs and she is once again being treated with chemotherapy to control the disease.

Two teams of surgeons in the UK have declined to operate on Sophie because they do not think they will be able to remove all of the tumours successfully.

They have offered her further chemotherapy.

'Chance for life'

Mr and Mrs Roberts, from Church Crookham, have been told that the best chance to save their daughter's life would be through specialist surgery, which can be carried out at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

After reviewing Sophie's CT scans, doctors there told her parents the end of July would be the "optimum time to operate" for the surgery to be successful.

Mrs Roberts, said: "It's a chance for life for her really, because the cancer is rare. It really is her best chance.

Image caption Doctors believe Sophie Roberts has only a 30% chance of surviving the cancer

"Only about three children a year in the UK are diagnosed with this type of cancer that's already spread to the lungs.

"The cost of the surgery is a massive, massive amount. It's what people normally pay for a house, it's a huge amount of money.

"It's not something we can afford to fund ourselves or within our family, so we're having to go out to people and ask for help."

Mr Roberts said: "The response has been incredible.

"I think the internet and social media have obviously made a huge impact on this.

"We couldn't possibly have done anything like this perhaps 10 years ago."

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