Cancer girl set to return home after £130k raised

Olivia Downie
Olivia Downie
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A TERMINALLY ill seven-year-old Scottish girl who went to Mexico for specialist treatment could be on her way home as soon as today after more than £130,000 was raised to fund the journey.

Olivia Downie, from Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, and her family flew to Mexico earlier this month to get treatment for neuroblastoma.While there, Olivia fell seriously ill and her family was told she would need expensive specialist medical treatment on any flight home.

There were fears that she would die in Mexico after doctors refused her permission to fly home without costly medical equipment.

The charity, Families Against Neuroblastoma (FAN), has been helping the family and set a target of £110,000 to fund their journey home. A JustGiving page set up to raise money for her flight had reached £134,423 last night. The charity now says that the family will be able to travel home “as soon as she is physically able to come off a ventilator”.

A further problem emerged when online issues with Natwest delayed pledged funds from appearing in the charity’s bank account. FAN said the bank had worked all day to resolve the issue.

A FAN spokeswoman said last night: “There were reports that the hospital in Mexico was threatening to take Olivia off her life support machine because of ‘lack of funds’.

“But the bank has been working for us all day to resolve the issue and Olivia has opened her eyes on her own so we are hoping she won’t need the life-support machine soon anyway.

“We have now received an estimate cost so far from the hospital, which amounts to $95,000 .

“Olivia will be coming home as soon as she is ready for the plane. The update from Mexico is looking better and we may be ready to do this later today.

“Medical bills are still mounting, so donations are still welcome. We would appeal to people to continue donating to Olivia, as she is not out of the woods just yet.”

The seven-year-old was diagnosed in January 2009 after suffering from severe backaches and tiredness.

Following visits to local GPs she was taken to Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma. FAN said Olivia had a tumour the size of a grapefruit in her stomach.

Her mother Lauren said: “Me and my husband are existing to take care of her and existing in the hope that we can get Olivia home. We’re terrified to lose her, because at the very least we want to have her comfortable at home and surrounded by familiar faces. If we were to lose her here then had to fly her body home we would be tormented for ever more and it would be the end of us, there’s no way we would be able to live with ourselves.”