LIKE any mum, Shirley Hepworth proudly factors out her daughter’s vibrant drawings.
There’s one of many Queen, which five-year-old Beau despatched to Her Majesty and was delighted to obtain an official letter of thanks.
And there’s certainly one of New York’s Empire State constructing, the home windows of the well-known skyscraper marked out in neat, vibrant colors.
It’s significantly poignant as a result of the household are pinning their hopes on a visit to the Massive Apple for doubtlessly life-saving remedy for Beau.
Shirley, 40, stated: “Beau has a really uncommon type of most cancers and is at a excessive danger of relapsing. If she relapses, the outlook could be very bleak.
“If we will get her to New York for a medical trial, she and different youngsters like her may have the most effective probability doable of creating it to maturity.”
In December 2020, when Beau was simply 4 years previous and on the finish of her first time period at school, she began to complain of tummy ache.
Shirley, who can be mum to Redd, 10, stated: “As mums do, I had a really feel of her tummy, not figuring out what I used to be searching for, and one facet was rock onerous.
“The physician initially thought it may very well be constipation so I handled her for that however three days later, the hardness in her stomach had became a noticeable lump.”
Fearing appendicitis, Shirley rushed Beau to Dewsbury hospital, West Yorkshire, the place scans confirmed a tumour.
Medics then transferred her, by ambulance, to Leeds Kids’s Hospital to be seen by a specialist oncologist.
There, Shirley obtained the devastating information that Beau had Stage 4 excessive danger neuroblastoma, a uncommon childhood most cancers that at prognosis solely has a 50/50 probability of survival.
Round 100 youngsters are identified with neuroblastoma within the UK yearly and the illness has one of many lowest charges of survival of all childhood cancers.
Shirley, from Liversedge, West Yorks, stated: “I’d taken her in considering she must have her appendix eliminated.
“Then, initially, they thought it could be Wilms Tumour, which is a quite common, extra treatable childhood most cancers.
“I used to be devastated. I didn’t hear anything, simply the phrase ‘most cancers.’
“However to be advised it was one of many rarest sorts, that was horrific.”
Courageous woman unable to eat, drink or speak
There was worse to come back – the most cancers had unfold into Beau’s bones.
Shirley stated: “She was riddled with it.”
What adopted was a yr of very aggressive remedy, together with an operation to take away the rugby ball-sized tumour, excessive dose chemotherapy, radiotherapy, a stem cell transplant and immunotherapy.
Beau’s little physique was so battered by the remedy that for 3 months, she was unable to eat, drink or speak, and communicated to Shirley via their very own made-up signal language.
Shirley, who has been off from her job in gross sales since Beau’s prognosis, stated: “She suffered mucositis, which is a typical facet impact of chemotherapy and meant Beau’s mouth and digestive system have been very sore and painful.”
At one level, there was an issue with Beau’s lungs.
When Shirley needed to take away Beau’s oxygen masks to elevate her from her mattress to the bathroom subsequent to it, her oxygen ranges would drop to such terrifyingly low ranges that the little woman would go out.
Shirley stated: “That was a very scary time. I didn’t know if she was ever going to get better.”
At present, Beau is present process immunotherapy, a painful process which she describes as “crocodiles chomping on my legs.”
However all through this extremely arduous journey, the household has been decided to wake each morning “with a smile.”
Shirley stated: “That’s been my philosophy. It would solely final 5 minutes, it’d final an hour, however we begin every day on a constructive notice.
“We cope with no matter comes our manner and we neglect about it once we go to mattress.
“Beau has lived by that. She has woken up each morning with a smile on her face. She’s completely superb.”
Earlier than her prognosis, Beau was a “typical” little woman – sassy, cheeky, with baggage of vitality.
And she or he has astounded everybody together with her fearlessness.
Shirley stated: “I do know she’s my daughter and I’m certain to say this, however Beau is the bravest particular person I do know.
“Redd has been an unimaginable huge sister and he or she has suffered too. When Beau was in isolation in hospital, Redd was with out her mum and sister. She may solely come as much as Leeds and wave at us via the window the place we may see her however she couldn’t see us.
“Beau has horrible evening terrors, she could be screaming for an hour generally, and that may have an effect on Redd too.
“Going via this has actually made me realise what’s vital in life.”
Race to affix vaccine trial
Beau is within the remaining stage of her remedy now, however she is much from out of the woods.
Her sort of neuroblastoma has a excessive probability of relapse – and will that occur, the percentages of surviving are frighteningly small, only one in 10.
It’s a danger Shirley merely cannot take.
She desires to boost £317,000 for Beau to participate in a most cancers vaccine trial at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Most cancers Centre.
The purpose of the vaccine is for the affected person’s immune system to make antibodies to assault any returning most cancers cells.
Shirley stated: “I’d do something for my little one. I’ll stroll to the ends of the Earth to ensure she will get this remedy.
“I couldn’t reside with myself if I hadn’t carried out the whole lot I may to ensure she doesn’t relapse.
“However there’s a much bigger image too. If this trial succeeds, it may change into a part of frontline remedy sooner or later, in order that the subsequent era of kids received’t must face that one in 10 survival fee.
“That may very well be a factor of the previous.”
‘The response has been overwhelming’
However the clock is ticking.
Beau wants to begin the trial inside 45 days of her remaining scans on the finish of April.
And so, on Christmas Eve final yr, having put nothing in any respect concerning the final yr’s battle on social media, Shirley swallowed her delight and appealed to her local people for assist.
The response, she says, was “overwhelming” and in simply six weeks, they’ve raised almost £200,000 through the neuroblastoma charity, Fixing Youngsters’ Most cancers.
Folks have organised household enjoyable days, a mini competition, sporting occasions and even a tractor pull.
Final week, 60 faculties within the Kirklees space took half in a “Rainbeau” non-uniform day which raised an astonishing £28,000.
Shirley stated: “Day-after-day, increasingly individuals come on board to help this marketing campaign.
“Beau and I have been within the grocery store sooner or later and the girl behind supplied to pay for my procuring, in order that I may put the quantity I’d have spent in the direction of Beau’s fund.
“I’m completely speechless by the response and utterly humbled.”
Kim Leadbeater, MP for Batley and Spen, is supporting the enchantment.
Kim and her late sister Jo Cox, who was murdered when she held the seat in 2016, went to the identical faculty as Shirley, Heckmondwike Grammar Faculty.
She stated: “There are many superb individuals doing superb issues to assist.
“The household has captured the hearts of the individuals throughout Batley and Spen and that’s actually highly effective and extremely shifting.
“This neighborhood carried me and my mother and father via essentially the most troublesome time in our lives and I hope they will do the identical for Shirley.”
For Shirley, she solely hopes everybody who has donated their money and time to assist Beau is aware of how grateful she is.
She stated: “Very often individuals say, ‘I’m sorry it’s solely a pound.’
“Nevertheless it’s the little drops within the ocean that make the waves.”
To seek out out extra about Beau’s enchantment, go to www.getbeautosloan.com or be a part of the Fb group, Beau’s Battle In opposition to Most cancers.
https://www.thesun.ie/well being/8328328/cancer-beau-neuroblastoma-treatment-child-stage-four/ My courageous woman, 5, complained of tummy aches