Scots public raises £154k to pay for special flight for Olivia Downie
OLIVIA Downie, the seven-year-old girl terminally ill with cancer, was brought home to Scotland yesterday thanks to the generosity of the Scottish public.
• Olivia Downie returns to Scotland after undergoing treatment in Mexico
• Over £150,000 raised to allow seven-year-old girl to fly back on medical plane to Scotland
Olivia, who is unconscious and being kept alive with the aid of ventilator, was accompanied on the 5,180-mile flight from Mexico to the north east of Scotland by her parents, Steven, 34, and Lauren, 27.
They had been maintaining a bedside vigil at a hospital in Tijuana for the past two weeks following the failure of treatment aimed at extending the life of the cancer-stricken youngster. They could not afford the special flight to bring their daughter home and appealed to the public for help.
Yesterday the special plane, operated by Air Ambulance Worldwide, touched down at Aberdeen Airport and an ambulance transferred Olivia and her parents to the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital where the youngster will continue to be monitored by medical staff.
The homecoming of the Downie family marked the culmination of an appeal which touched the hearts of thousands in Scotland and across the globe and led to more than £150,000 being raised.
Olivia, from Fraserburgh in Aberdeenshire, was diagnosed in January 2009 as suffering from stage four neuroblastoma – a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer which attacks the nervous system.
Her parents had flown with her to the Hope 4 Cancer Institute, in Tijuana, a fortnight ago in the hope that specialist treatment could extend her life.
But the schoolgirl failed to respond and lapsed into a coma.
The family had been left stranded in Mexico unable to pay for an air ambulance to take their daughter home.
The appeal to raise funds for the flight had been led by the charity Families Against Neuroblastoma.
Yesterday, the total raised by the worldwide appeal stood at £154,209.
Kevin Downie, Olivia’s uncle, praised the public’s response to the family’s plight and said that Olivia’s parents were expected to remain at her bedside in hospital in Aberdeen for the foreseeable future.
He said: “It is a relief to get Olivia home. It’s the answer to many people’s prayers.
“Having Olivia back home will be better for my brother and his wife and obviously they will get more support now and family and friends will be rallying round them. We will all be here for her.”
Linza Corp, who founded the neuroblastoma charity, said: “We wanted to get Olivia home with the least fuss possible.
“The fact that Olivia is home will be the source of great comfort to a lot of people and none of this would have been possible if it hadn’t been for the generosity of the people of Scotland and we are immensely grateful.”
Fraserburgh Councillor Brian Topping said the community was relieved that Olivia had been flown home.
He said: “Folk are just hoping – even at this stage – that there could be a miracle.
“But I think that to get her home must be a great relief to all her family, relations and friends and will be a great comfort to her parents.”
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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