A Chester youngster whose brave fight against leukaemia captured the hearts of people across the world is celebrating a major milestone.
This week marks the first anniversary of Erin Cross being told she is ‘in remission’ – meaning she has been cancer-free for a year.
Erin’s mum Sarah Cross says her daughter is “slowly getting back to normal” and things are now “looking good” for her after years of battling serious illness.
The seven-year-old, from Upton, hit the headlines last summer when Sarah and her husband Antony launched an online appeal for funds to send their daughter to America for pioneering treatment.
After an astonishing response from people across the world – many of them complete strangers who had heard about Erin's plight and simply wanted to help – the appeal target of £100,000 was raised in just 24 hours.
Erin was soon on a plane to Seattle where she underwent CAR T-Cell therapy – an experimental treatment only available in America – which proved to be a huge success, clearing the cancerous cells in her body.
A year ago on Thursday (September 21), Erin’s mum Sarah received the phone call she had been waiting for from Seattle Children's Hospital – telling her the treatment had worked and her daughter was in remission.
Sarah said at the time she cried “tears of joy” at the news.
She marked yesterday’s anniversary by having a “nice day at home” with Erin.
Erin had been ill since she was just two years old, leading to her being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a cancer of the white blood cells.
Traditional methods to treat the disease failed, leaving Sarah and Antony looking for alternative ways to help their daughter.
Their decision to try to get her treatment in America – made possible by the successful online appeal which even led to an appearance on ITV’s This Morning show – ensured Erin’s battle with the disease was a winning one.
The youngster’s bubbly personality captured the hearts of thousands of people who followed her progress on the ‘All About Erin’ Facebook and Twitter accounts. She was even filmed having a ‘dance-off’ with nurses while in hospital.
Erin’s eventual all-clear meant she was well enough for a bone marrow transplant at Manchester Children's Hospital in December, which has made sure the leukaemia will not return. But Erin is still having treatment in Manchester to treat her graft verses host disease, a condition that can occur after a transplant.
Sarah said: “She’s still struggling with some symptoms but has made huge progress and has managed a couple of hours at school. There’s still a long way to go with building her back up physically and mentally but things are looking good.”
The family wished to thank everyone who helped with Erin’s recovery, from the doctors and staff in Seattle and Manchester to the thousands of people who contributed to her online appeal.
“Thank you everyone for making this dream possible,” added Sarah.
See full story in the Chester Leader