How a Community has Rallied Around a Teenage Girl with Glioma

When Lily Wythe, a 14-year-old from Eastwood in England, was diagnosed with diffuse pontine glioma (also known as DIPG), her friends and family knew they had to do something to help. One friend in particular, Lillie Cotgrove, went above and beyond. She knew that the best treatment for Lily was available in America, and that it cost £300,000. To raise the money necessary, she had the idea to ask everyone to donate one pound, an amount most can afford. This movement, which they dubbed One Pound Warriors, took off, raising over £25,000 on Facebook after one week.

About Diffuse Pontine Glioma

Diffuse pontine glioma, also called DIPG, is a brain tumor that occurs on the brain stem in children. The tumors are referred to as gliomas, as they stem from glial cells. This form of cancer can be categorized into four stages: grades I, II, III, IV.

As the brain stem plays a part in sight, hearing, eating, talking, and walking, symptoms of this cancer affect these abilities. They include issues with balance, walking, chewing, and swallowing, nausea, vomiting, double vision, drooping eyelids, blurred vision, and uncontrolled eye movements.

It is believed that DIPG occurs due to an issue in brain development. As ages 5-10 see significant brain development, it would make sense that this form of cancer only affects children. It is most commonly diagnosed through imaging studies, such as MRIs, CT scans, and MRS. Biopsies may also be a form of diagnosis.

No cure for this cancer exists. Treatment options include radiation therapy, chemotherapy paired with radiation or other biologic agents, and surgery to remove a portion or the entire tumor.

Lily’s Story

Lily is a 14-year-old from England who attends Eastwood Academy. Last summer she was diagnosed with diffuse pontine glioma H3 K27MK, after her mother noticed that she was slurring her words and losing her balance.

Her treatment consists of radiation therapy, which has been taking a toll on her body. While it did improve the issues with speech, it has weakened her ability to walk, eat, and dress herself. It also led to the flu and aspiration, as well as hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus occurs when fluid builds up in the brain and puts pressure on the skull. To treat it, she required intensive brain surgery.

Despite all of the complications, her parents say that she is a “happy and bubbly” girl, unlike the angst and attitude of most teenagers. The support from her community has helped her to remain positive, as everyone hopes that she will soon be able to go to America to receive treatment.

One Pound Warriors

Lillie Cotgrove has been friends with Lily since the beginning of secondary school, and she wanted to do anything she could to help. She was aware that the best treatment is available in America, and she also knew that it came with the hefty price tag of £300,000. To raise money, she came up with the idea of rather than a few people donating large sums of money, 300,000 people could all donate one pound each, making it a much more manageable amount. This idea was the beginning of One Pound Warriors.

Her mother helped her to create a Facebook page with the expectation that they would raise around £100. They were both shocked when the donations hit £25,000 within four days. Not only did the community rally around Lily to give money, but celebrities like Jonathan Ross and Rylan Clark-Neal also noticed the campaign and donated.

The page has continued to grow, with people offering their money, advice, and services from places as far as Canada. This outpouring of love and support means the world to Lily and her parents.

To donate to Lily’s GoFundMe, click here.

Find the source article here.

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