'Hope' for Wirral girl, diagnosed with inoperable brain tumour
The family of a nine-year-old girl diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour five years after her mother and baby sister died said a new medical trial in Mexico has given them "hope".
Paula Newman said their lives were "shattered into a million pieces" when they found out her niece Lucy Moroney, from Wirral, had a malignant tumour.
She said Alder Hey Children's Hospital told the family it was terminal.
They are aiming to raise £300,000 to fund the "promising" trial, she said.
Lucy, from Heswall, was diagnosed with Grade 4 Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) and the hospital could only offer her palliative care, Ms Newman said.
She said she was told by doctors Lucy had "approximately nine months [to live] if she underwent radiotherapy... if she didn't it could be as little as three months".
The family has set up a fundraising page to fund "alternative treatments" not offered on the NHS which may prolong or save her life abroad.
They say an intra-arterial chemotherapy treatment in Monterrey, Mexico, "looks promising".
The mother of seven-year-old Luke Stewart, from Tranent, East Lothian, Scotland, who has DIPG and is currently having the treatment said it was helping to improve the quality of his life.
Lucy's father Joe Moroney said despite the "grim diagnosis" he was determined to "do everything to save her".
He said the family, inspired by his daughter who was "always smiling", was "going to cling to every bit of hope... to find a cure".
Lucy's mother Nicola died at 33 from a sudden cardiac arrest due to an undiagnosed heart condition in 2012, Mr Moroney said.
She was 24 weeks pregnant at the time. Her baby, Ruby, was born by Caesarean section and lived for 14 hours.
Mr Moroney said: "I couldn't fight for Nicola so I am going to fight as hard as I can for Lucy."
Her parents promised one day they would take her swimming with dolphins so Mr Moroney said he was determined to fulfil her dream before his daughter's condition deteriorated.
Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma
• A type of high grade brain tumour which tends to grow quickly and is more likely to spread to other parts of the brain or spinal cord.
• DIPGs originate in an area of the brain, and more specifically the brainstem, called the pons.
• The pons is an area deep within the lower part of the brain responsible for a number of critical bodily functions, such as breathing, sleeping and blood pressure.
• A child with a DIPG may display abnormal alignment of the eyes or/and double vision, weakness of facial muscles or facial asymmetry, arm and leg weakness, unstable balance and co-ordination or difficulties walking and speaking.
Source: Brain Tumour Charity