Six years ago, Kaye had taken Matilda in for a routine eye examination, when the optician found abnormal pressure behind Matilda’s eyes. Matilda was rushed to hospital, where it was discovered the pressure was on her brain and was being caused by a large tumour. Matilda was taken into surgery and doctors were able to remove almost all of the tumour.
Despite being warned by doctors that Matilda may suffer severe side effects and be left ‘less able’ as a result of the tumour and treatment, the 12-year-old has since become a national gymnastics champion who Kaye describes as “a force to be reckoned with”.
She’s not defined by what happened to her, she’s absolutely glorious and she’s everything you want a 12 year old to be – she’s an incredible child. She has yearly scans now to check that her tumour hasn’t returned because it’s related to growth so until she stops growing there is a possibility it could come back.
You can’t ever think, it’s gone away and that’s it. Every time the scan comes around, we go back to the same place we were six years ago, when she was first diagnosed. We just hope she can get through to adulthood without it coming back, Kaye says.
Kaye credits research into childhood cancer for Matilda’s successful treatment and recovery and is encouraging the public to continue to support cancer research charities, such as Children with Cancer UK, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are very grateful and understand that Matilda is here today, in large part, due to research into childhood cancers that has been funded by charities like Children with Cancer UK and has led to advancements in treatment. If Matilda had had her surgery 10 years earlier, the treatment she had wouldn’t have been available and she may not have survived her diagnosis, Kaye says.
That’s why it’s so important people continue to support charities that fund research during this pandemic. Because of our family’s own experience of cancer, I know how vulnerable these children are, especially now when facing the added threat of infection. We’re all living in uncertain times during this pandemic. But one thing that is certain is that children will continue be diagnosed with cancer.
Every day in the UK, 12 families receive the devastating news that their child has cancer. We cannot forget children with continuing illnesses during this pandemic – their care is still absolutely paramount for them and their families.
Children with Cancer UK’s press office
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About Children with Cancer UK
Children with Cancer UK is the leading national charity dedicated to research into childhood cancer.
We fund research into the causes and treatment of childhood cancers and provide support for families affected by childhood cancer. We have accelerated breakthroughs to improve childhood cancer survival rates and find kinder, more effective treatments with fewer toxic side effects. This ground-breaking research, which would otherwise go unfunded, saves the lives of children with cancer. Children with Cancer UK receives no government funding and relies entirely on the generosity of donations from supporters.
About childhood cancer and Children with Cancer UK’s impact
Every day in the UK, 12 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer.
Fifty years ago, only 30% of children with leukaemia survived, and for most other forms of childhood cancer survival rates were even lower. Today, thanks to our supporters and the dedication of visionary researchers like those we fund, more than 80% of young patients can be successfully treated. More vital research is needed though as there are still a number of cancers affecting children and young people with low survival rates and life-limiting side effects. Cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children and young people in the UK.