LITTLE Mercy Cuthbertson smiled from ear to ear as her mum told her: “Some very kind people have raised enough money for your medicine fund.”
Those people are Sun on Sunday readers who have helped smash a £100,000 fundraising appeal so that little Mercy can take part in clinical trials abroad to fight her aggressive brain tumour and give her the chance of a future.
It is a day that her mum Lorraine has been praying for since she was first diagnosed six-months-ago and on Friday she was able to go to hospital to discuss clinical trial options with Mercy’s consultant, knowing they have the funding to pay for it.
Lorraine, 43, said: “I was speechless when I found out the target had been reached, which is something that doesn’t happen very often.
“I cannot thank your readers enough for their kindness. I can’t believe what has happened since you started helping Mercy and we now have the money to finance clinical trials, we are so grateful”.
“We told Mercy that some very kind people had done this for her.
“We tell her that it is so that she can get medicine abroad as she obviously doesn’t understand what a trial is.
“Mercy celebrated her sixth birthday this week too so it is a double celebration. There were points a few months ago when we didn’t even think we would get to this milestone. It’s been a very good week for our family.”
It was last summer when Mercy suddenly stopped “racing” around the house, started feeling tired and dizzy and didn’t even want to play.
Chief Inspector Lorraine and her PC husband, Paul, 52, who both work for Northumbria Police and live in north Tyneside, took her to the GP and she was referred for tests.
Lorraine says: “I remember hearing, ‘brain tumour, inoperable, incurable’.”
Within weeks Mercy started having radiotherapy. The tumour had already affected her vision and mobility, and soon she needed a wheelchair and she couldn’t go to school.
Since then she has had an operation to relieve the pressure on her brain and she is more mobile and can talk.
Now the family are working together with Mercy’s consultant at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary to get her on a trial.
Lorraine says: “Now we can press on exploring clinical trials abroad and work with her consultant at the RVI to make sure the timing and proposed treatment pathway is completely right for her.”
Lorraine has spent hours searching for clinical trials, supported by the charity Abbie’s army.
There are two trials abroad who could now accept Mercy as they have the money to pay for treatment and medical expenses.
Lorraine says: “Mercy is an inspiration and I couldn’t be prouder of her. I am so pleased that others have seen just how wonderful she is and rallied to help her.”
As well as the readers who took Mercy into their hearts, several companies near her home in the north east did too.
Last week told how transport company Go North East had stepped in to help and this week SCS and Tesco both generously donated £5,000 each to her appeal.
Lucy Clough, People Director at ScS commented: “ScS’ roots are in Sunderland, so when we heard about a local little girl’s health struggles and a fundraising campaign that many in the northeast have rallied behind, we not only felt pride in our community coming together but a need to bolster efforts to hit the much needed £100,000 fundraising target.
“We hope our contribution helps Mercy’s family secure the medical treatment needed to give this brave little girl the chance to carry on fighting.”
And Adam Crooks, Store Manager of the Newcastle Upon Tyne Tesco Extra, said: “When we heard Mercy’s story it was an easy decision to step in and help out.
“We were really touched by the bravery she has shown and all of us here at the Newcastle Upon Tyne Extra send Mercy our very best wishes for her treatment and recovery.”
As well as money she has received warm messages from well wishers. Her idols Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly did a video sending her love and kisses.
And as well as our readers the north east community have rallied around the family to try and help raise the money they so desperately need.
She says: “I want to see Mercy celebrate many more birthdays – now that dream could become a reality. These trials will give Mercy the best chance of fighting this monster disease.
“Thank you, thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart.”
Mum Lorraine and Dad Paul have desperately been trying to raise money to fund Mercy’s treatments abroad[/caption]