Lower Darwen's Madison Allan's tumour shrinks

Image caption,
Madison is loving school so much she has signed up to half-term holiday club

A six-year-old Lancashire girl given two months to live by UK doctors in August is well enough to go back to school full-time.

Last summer doctors told Madison Allan's parents there was nothing more they could do to treat her cancer and "to prepare for the worst".

She has an aggressive form of cancer, neuroblastoma, which affects children.

However, her family launched an appeal to fund innovative treatment in Germany and her tumour has now shrunk by 2cm.

Her grandmother Alison Foster said: "Madison isn't out of the woods yet but she is doing really well.

'Making new friends'

"And she is enjoying school so much, she has signed up for holiday club during half-term next week."

She continued: "It's lovely to see her mixing with other children and making new friends."

Now she is in phase three of the trial offered by the Clinical Centre at the University of Greifswald, Madison has been able to return to Lancashire and have the next course of chemotherapy at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.

There is more good news for Madison's family. She may not need to go to America for the final stage of treatment, a course of antibodies, as it may be available in Germany by the time she needs it in April 2012.

Madison, of Lower Darwen, was first diagnosed with cancer when she was ten months old.

She had chemo and responded well; the tumour shrunk to a quarter of the size and her parents, Samantha and Mark Allan, were told it should not cause further problems.

However, four years later she had a relapse when the tumour returned.

She underwent four bouts of chemotherapy, followed by radiotherapy. Then doctors at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital operated on Madison.

Part way through the operation, though, it had to be abandoned. The "spaghetti-type" tumour had wrapped itself around main blood vessels.

"She would have bled to death if they'd carried on," said Ms Foster.

'Extremely generous'

"Samantha and Mark were told to enjoy what time they had left with Madison."

However, they found hope when Madison's grandmother heard about a form of chemotherapy being trialled in Germany via Families Against Neuroblastoma (FAN) support group.

She explained: "I e-mailed them asking if they would treat Madison and they said they would."

Although the Madison Allan Appeal has raised enough to pay for the first three stages, they still need more donations to fund the rest of the treatment.

"People have been extremely generous. We have raised over £100,000 so far but we still have to raise around another £150,000," said Ms Foster.

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