According to a story from the Derby Telegraph, four-year-old Audrina Hatton-Wright was diagnosed with a rare cancer called neuroblastoma about a year ago. This cancer mostly affects children. Doctors initially dismissed the girl’s complaints of pain in her legs and groin as nothing more than growing pains, but Audrina was fortunate that her attentive parents, Gemma Gould and Zach Hatton-Wright, insisted on an ultrasound. The scan found a tumor growing between her spine and kidneys.
Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that appears in nerve tissue. Children are more frequently affected than adults. The direct cause of neuroblastoma is not known in most cases; in a small number of patients, an inherited mutation ALK gene has been implicated, but this only explains around two percent of cases at the most. Symptoms of neuroblastoma include a lump in the affected area which may be blue in color, bone and joint pain, loss of appetite, fatigue, and fever. Other symptoms vary depending on where the tumor is located; it typically originates in the adrenal glands but can also appear on the spine, neck, abdomen, or chest. Treatment approaches include immunotherapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, and stem cell transplant. Outcomes vary considerably; the five year survival rate is 68 percent for patients between age one and fourteen. To learn more about neuroblastoma, click here.
Before the diagnosis Audrina was generally a healthy girl, so the diagnosis came as a total surprise. Despite the circumstances, she appears to be handling the situation well. When she began to lose her hair from treatment, which was devastating for her, her mother, grandmother Denise, and her Aunt Sarah all shaved their heads as a show of solidarity.
Unfortunately, Audrina’s case is considered high risk and it has been difficult to treat effectively. Even after treatment, there is a 50 percent chance that the neuroblastoma could relapse. Right now, the family are trying to raise £200,000 by October 2019 in order to pay for a treatment approach exclusively available in the US that could reduce her chance of relapse.
If you would like to help support Audrina’s treatment, click here.