£10k target hit for Pippa’s US cancer therapy

Pippa Belle Cole with parents Scott and Michelle and sisters Ruby and Betsy-Blue.
Pippa Belle Cole with parents Scott and Michelle and sisters Ruby and Betsy-Blue.

A family who needed to raise £10,000 for a lifesaving trip to America for their three-year-old daughter is “overwhelmed” to have reached their target in just a week.

The Garstang family set up an online donation page for their daughter Pippa Belle Cole, who has a cancerous brain tumour and needs specialist treatment in the USA.

And in just a week, the family achieved their goal, with more money still pouring in.

Mum Michelle Howard, who also has three other children, said: “We are overwhelmed by everybody’s support, generosity and well wishes.

“This has eased the financial burden of this awful situation we are in. We would like to thank everybody from the bottom of our hearts.”

Pippa was diagnosed with an aggresive brain tumour, called an ependymoma Grade 3, in July 2013, when she was just 18 months old.

Surgeons removed 98 per cent of the tumour and Pippa underwent 13 months of intensive chemotherapy.

The brave youngster was given the all clear last September but two weeks ago a scan showed the cancer had returned.

Last week Pippa underwent further surgery which has hopefully removed the tumour.

Michelle, 34, said: “Pippa’s surgery went well and they managed to remove all the tumour. She was very poorly for the first five days and also contracted chemical meningitis but thankfully she is now recovering well.

Doctors told Michelle and her partner Scott Cole, 36, that her only chance of survival was to have Proton Beam therapy in America in the next six weeks.

The treatment works in a similar way to radiotherapy, but is more direct and so less harmful.

Michelle said: “Without it, the cancer is so aggressive that the cells will just start developing again. With the therapy Pippa has a 30-40 per cent chance of survival but without it she probably hasn’t got much chance at all.”

But while the treatment is funded by the NHS, the associated costs of the trip will fall to the family.

And they will have to stay in America for up to 12 weeks while Pippa recovers.

The family are hoping to raise more funds with a fun day at the Preesall Indoor Archery and Air Rifle centre on Saturday February 7 from 11am until 4pm.

Other fundraising events include a half-marathon, non-uniform days at Garstang High and St Michael’s Primary and a charity auction.

Michelle added: “We thought we might be able to get £1,000 towards the cost but we never thought we would get this much.

“It’s just amazing and it means so much.”

To donate to Pippa’s cause go to http://www.gofundme.com/ktmvf0 (please note the final 0 is a numeral).

Once Pippa has finished her treatment, any money left will be donated to the brain tumour research team at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.