A Nottingham couple are being forced to fundraise so that their 11-month-old daughter, Winnie, can access life-saving care in Singapore to treat a rare form of cancer . Her parents, Lucy and Luke Impey have managed to raise £42,300 in five days through a GoFund Me page but will need more to fund the vital treatment.
The treatment is currently thought to cost around £500,000 which the couple has estimated through other parents’ experiences. Their friends and family have also stepped up to offer fundraising ideas and raise money.
“We only set it up last Thursday and have been totally overwhelmed by how much we have raised already but we need a lot more as the treatment is expensive. My friends are organising fundraising and Morrissons in Netherfield are collecting money for Winnie this weekend. Another friend who owns a children’s clothing company, Lazy Daze, is making jumpers for her to raise money. There is only so much you can do when you are in hospital awaiting treatment,” Lucy said.
Winnie was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that does not meet the criteria for the treatment which is only offered as a trial in the UK. She was brought to A&E with a suspected ear infection for which she recovered but she became ill again afterward. She was diagnosed after a tooth began to grow at a strange angle then she stopped walking and talking.
Doctors managed to get the Leukemia into remission using chemotherapy but sadly Winnie relapsed. After several treatments including a stem cell transplant, her leukemia morphed into a rare and aggressive form. She is currently being treated at Leeds General Infirmary where her parents have relocated temporarily to be closer to her.
As she does not meet the criteria for the UK trial, the NHS can no longer offer treatments to cure her, only prolong her life. The couple says their savings only go so far and the treatment in Singapore could save her life. Lucy currently works as a sixth-form psychology teacher while Luke works in fostering for the local authority.
Lucy said: “She is a wonderful and kind little girl who has had the most difficult year. She has had leukemia for about a year and she responded well to chemotherapy initially. Doctors would normally keep doing chemotherapy treatment but it was changed to immunotherapy which has been tested on patients before however, it caused a change with her Leukemia and she relapsed.”
The couple started the GoFund Me page when they heard that the trial wouldn’t take Winnie as she didn’t meet the criteria. Her parents were told that she had little chance of surviving without treatment.
“We set up the page immediately and it’s been a whirlwind. We know other parents who have had children go through the treatment and who are currently in remission. They have been guiding me on the process in Singapore and have taken some of her bone marrow which is on its way there now.”
Once the bone marrow arrives in Singapore, it will be examined and tested. The consultants in the UK will speak with the Singapore doctors to discuss what chemotherapy Winnie will need before she travels to the country for treatment.
Lucy said: “It’s pretty horrific all the time but the hope that this might be her cure is getting us through. Her consultants here have been really positive and liaised with Singapore which means a lot to us. We’ve been very impressed with the care we have had here and our consultant has been fabulous.”
Dr Beki James, Paediatric Haematology Consultant at Leeds Children’s Hospital, said:”We are extremely sympathetic towards the Impey family’s cause in wanting to find a cure for Winnie’s leukemia. Unfortunately, Winnie has reached the limits of the immunotherapy treatments available here in the UK. We wish the family the very best in seeking to be part of the clinical trial currently only available in Singapore.
The campaign which the couple has named Winnie’s Wish will continue to keep fundraising on their GoFund Me Page. Morrisons in Netherfield also has a collection for the campaign starting on Friday, May 13 until Sunday, May 15. Jumpers from Lazy Daze childrenswear can be found through the website.