The parents of a three-year-old girl diagnosed with a rare cancer have issued a heartfelt plea for help fundraising to pay for a specialist treatment.

Mollie McCaughan, from Beckenham, was a healthy girl looking forward to starting pre-school in July 2020 when she was taken to A&E with a sharp hip pain which had developed overnight.

After an operation to release pressure from an infection, later tests revealed she had Stage 4 Neuroblastoma – a rare type of cancer that affects mostly babies.

A CT scan showed a 6.5cm tumour located on top of her left kidney, around her adrenal glands, renal arteries and spine.

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Additional tests confirmed that the cancer had spread to her skull and bone marrow, and Mollie was given just a 40 per cent chance of survival.

She went through eight rounds of intense chemotherapy every 10 days for 80 days, radiotherapy, immunotherapy and an eight-hour life-saving operation before her third birthday.

Mum and dad Sian and Kevin McCaughan are now anxiously waiting for the end of October – when Mollie will have scans to determine whether she has a five or 75 per cent chance of living for another four years.

If the scans show no sign of a cancer relapse, the family want to take brave Mollie to the USA to undergo specialist treatment to permanently help her – which costs around £300,000 in total.

Kevin, 39, told the News Shopper: “When your child gets diagnosed with cancer you go through a whole host of emotions and multiple grief cycles and we’re working through that.

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“There’s signing consent forms, being told about short life expectancies, the fact she won’t have kids and the treatment is really, really hard.

“There’s a community of families going through the same or similar that have been forced together and on Mollie’s very first day of chemo, one of the dads who was around a year ahead of us told me to start fundraising then because there’s a few different things that are available.

“We begun doing so for a specialist treatment in New York, and then a few weeks ago Solving Kids Cancer charity, who are amazing and who we work very close with, told us that the programme they were hoping to get Mollie on had closed.

“They said another had opened in the USA, but there was a big ‘but’ and it was that this was a lot more expensive.”

The McCaughan’s had originally set out to raise £200,000 for the treatment, but have now had to ramp up their fundraising plea to raise an extra £100,000 on top of that initial target.

And, they only have a certain amount of time to raise the money in.

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Dad-of-three Kevin said: “We have to get onto the programme within a certain amount of time after Mollie finishes treatment.

“There’s a window where your end of treatment scans and final immunotherapy only lasts for so long.

“We were comfortable but now we need to pick it up again, and we only have around six weeks to raise the rest.”

The family has raised around £163,000 so far, after having to try to fundraise initially without being able to put on events due to lockdown.

Kevin added: “I never really wanted to put my kids on social media, and before Mollie’s diagnosis the only thing I really put on was birth photos but we had to change that up.

“We’ve had to balance fundraising through treatment, and I try to share the positive photos of her playing in the playroom – but there’s no hiding that she really did go through it all.

“She had months of chemo, really big surgery and she spent Christmas in the Royal Marsden hospital in Sutton.”

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Mollie is currently living at home, and goes into hospital when there’s a possible risk of her getting an infection.

She is being supported by the McCaughan’s local rugby and tennis clubs - which also happens to be the same tennis club that Emma Raducanu belongs to.

Kevin said: “A week after Emma won the US open, the club was having a charity squash match for Mollie.

“All my squash mates said, ‘right we’ve done Emma, now let’s focus on Mollie’.

“The local community has been absolutely amazing and I can’t thank them, or the NHS, enough.

“It’s a bizarre thing to have to have cake sales and squash matches to get your daughter access to treatment and it’s not what you ever expect you’ll have to do.

“People ask how you do it, but you just don’t really have a choice.”

To donate to Mollie's USA treatment, click here.

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