US treatment begins for cancer girl Katie

A LITTLE girl fighting cancer was last night resting after starting life-changing medical treatment in the USA.

Four-year-old Katie Dodd was given the first session of pioneering therapy for a cancerous tumour on her spine, which has left her unable to walk, on Monday.

She is being treated at Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, and is now with family recovering in an apartment in Jacksonville.

The next round of treatment is set for February 25th and the family are expected to be in America for up to 10 weeks.

The Farnworth youngster flew out to America last week with parents Lee and Rebecca and her big brother Joseph, aged nine, after an operation on her spine in preparation for the proton beam therapy, an advanced form of radiotherapy.

But it was a tough start to the 10 week trip for the family, after Katie caught a blood infection, a common but potentially deadly side-affect for cancer patients receiving treatment. Mrs Dodd is keeping family and friends updated by email. Writing before Katie started treatment, she said: said: “It’s a bug commonly found on the skin and likely got in through her central line.

“Because she was in hospital the doctors weren’t concerned about her because she was having everything they could do to her anyway.

“Once they have confirmed the strain they will be directing the specific antibiotics at it and if she remains febrile free (temperature free) she will be allowed back to the apartment.

“She hasn’t had a temperature in about 35 hours so we are getting better. She's in good spirits and we continue to be well taken care of.”

Little Katie’s problems started in August last year with severe back pains.

On September 16 she woke up and could not move her legs.

An MRI scan revealed she had a six-centimetre tumour on her spine.

Since then little Katie has been undergoing gruelling treatment and the £114,000 cost of the proton beam therapy is being met by the NHS. But family and friends are fundraising so her parents can take unpaid leave to be at Katie’s side. They are now planning their next fundraiser, which will have an American theme. Katie’s American Dream will take place on April 20, at the Holiday Inn, in Bolton, but the family are still appealing for business sponsors for the event. To donate to the appeal, visit katiedoddappeal.co.uk or call Katie’s aunt, Donna Brown, about the fundraiser on 97977545105.

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