A young mum is battling against time to raise £300,000 to get her baby girl lifesaving cancer treatment – after almost 60 rounds of chemotherapy failed.
Little Poppy Martin is desperate for surgery after she lost half her sight to an aggressive brain tumour.
The brave two-year-old has endured a heart-breaking 58 rounds of chemotherapy and visited ten different hospitals after she was diagnosed with cancer last year.
Mum Ellena Martin, 21, is now on a race against time and needs £300,000 to fund crucial surgery abroad to save her toddlers life.
Poppy has lost all her sight in her left eye and the tumour is now growing towards her right eye and will affect her memory, speech and non-verbal communication.
The single mum and full-time carer to Poppy is aiming to raise £300,000 to fund the cancer surgery, travel and accommodation in the United States.
Poppy was just 16 months old when she was diagnosed last July when Elle noticed she was squinting because her eye was raised.
Elle said: “On July 5 last year she had a cold and I noticed her eyes looked a lot heavier than normal.
“It turns out the pressure of the tumour was pushing her left eye forward and making her squint.
“I took her to the children’s centre at Kent and Canterbury Hospital, who referred us to the William Harvey where a specialist looked at Poppy’s eye with a torch.
“The doctor said she had an elevation behind her left eye. I didn’t know what it all meant.
“I assumed they meant a cyst or something, but the doctor looked at me and said ‘we’re not talking about a cyst’.”
Two days after Poppy was diagnosed in July last year an MRI scan she was referred to specialist cancer hospital The Royal Marsden, in London.
Elle said: “Walking into the Royal Marsden was gobsmacking. We didn’t understand the extent of Poppy’s diagnosis at that point.
“We walked in and saw children with no hair and tubes attached to them. I thought ‘is this what Poppy has ahead of her’?”
The tumour was caused by genetic condition neurofibromatosis type 1, which means growth of nerve tissue is not properly controlled.
It causes usually non-cancerous tumours to grow along nerves. It affects one in 3,000 births in Britain and often causes pale patches or soft bumps on the skin.
The condition has been associated with learning difficulties and, less often, a type of cancer called malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours.
There is no cure to the cancer, caused by a genetic mutation, and treatment involves monitoring and treating problems as they occur.
Elle, of Whitstable, Kent, said: “The tumour has already taken most of the sight in Poppy’s left eye and is now growing towards the right eye.
“It is sitting on Poppy’s right temporal lobe, which affects memory, speech and non-verbal communication.
“We no longer have time on our side before the tumour does yet more irreversible damage, so we need to act fast.
“We are desperately seeking help from doctors outside the UK who have more advanced treatments and are more specialised in surgery.
“This country can’t offer any more treatments that aren’t dangerously toxic.
“The two drugs we’ve been offered are both for adults.
“Poppy would have to have them if the next scan shows it’s growing, and it would be a miracle if it’s not.”
She added: “Please help my little princess live a life free from this evil disease.”
To donate to her treatment fund, please visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/poppysplea