Five-year-old Poppy loves running and playing in the park with her friends and her baby brother, going to school, meeting new people and anything to do with Rapunzel, Elsa or Moana.  

Poppy loves to pretend to be the "Nurse in charge" at the hospital, helping with making beds and taking observations, and even has her own ID card! She wants to be a nurse or play leader when she gets older.  

At just four years old, Poppy was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer that has a 40-50% chance of long-term survival.  

Her family are fundraising for further treatment, either to get their daughter into remission or to try and keep the cancer away if her frontline treatment does go to plan. This could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.   

Poppy’s Story  

In April 2020 Poppy’s little brother Oscar was born and around this time she started complaining of pain in her legs, was increasingly more tired and lethargic and gradually started eating less. She became clingy and depressed which the family put down to jealousy and confusion as she'd just become a big sister and the world was in lockdown due to a global pandemic.   

As her leg pain got worse Poppy’s mum Claire eventually contacted the GP and had a telephone appointment due to Covid restrictions. A blood test was arranged at Bedford hospital in which an iron deficiency was confirmed. A few days later the family were told their GP wanted to see Poppy in person as he was concerned after reviewing her blood test results in more detail.  

After checking her over, they were then sent to see a paediatrician at Bedford hospital straight away for more tests and scans. A chest x-ray finally revealed a large tumour at the back left-hand side of Poppy’s chest cavity, wrapped around her heart and pushing against one of her lungs. Her parents were told straight away it was cancer.  

“Our world came crashing down around us in seconds, unable to comprehend what was happening. We refused to believe it at first, insisting that our little girl who's always been the picture of health couldn't possibly have cancer,” says Poppy’s parents, Claire and Ross.  

Poppy and her dad were sent in an ambulance that night to Addenbrookes whilst mum Claire stayed at home with 3-month-old Oscar.   

“I didn't sleep a wink that night, it was the worst night of my life,” says Claire.  

A biopsy and scans revealed that the cancer had spread all over her body and Poppy was officially diagnosed with stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma on 24th July 2020, just weeks before her 5th birthday. 

Treatment  

Since her diagnosis in July 2020, Poppy has endured 13 rounds of chemotherapy with side effects such as sickness and hair loss. The treatments have cleared a lot of the cancer cells but not enough to move onto the next stage yet. She is currently taking part in a clinical trial at UCLH and Southampton Hospital with the hope of clearing even more of the cancer cells. The radiation treatment she had at UCLH required her to be in an isolation room for 10 days with only minimal contact allowed with her parents.

If the trial is successful Poppy will still have surgery, high-dose chemotherapy with stem-cell rescue, radiotherapy and immunotherapy to complete her frontline treatment. She has had 1 of her ovaries removed and preserved for the future and a stem cell harvest for future use. She's had countless general anaesthetics, injections, bone marrow biopsies, CT scans and MIBG scans and relies on tube feeds as her main source of nutrition as her appetite has decreased and she often feels nauseous.  

“Despite everything, Poppy stays happy, caring and cheeky and makes everyone laugh wherever she goes,” says Claire. “We’re so proud of her inner strength and resilience at having to cope with things that no child should ever have to go through”.  

During Poppy’s treatment, only 1 parent has been allowed to stay with Poppy at the hospital because of new covid restrictions which has been a real strain on the family. Oscar will turn 1 at the end of April but the siblings have had to spend weeks apart due to Poppy’s
 treatment. 
 

“We rarely get to spend time together as a whole family, but when we do those moments are precious. I have continued to breastfeed Oscar, spending lots of time expressing milk while in hospital with Poppy! It's exhausting,” says Claire.  

Poppy’s Fundraising Campaign  

Poppy’s family are raising funds for further treatment, either to get their daughter into remission or to try and keep the cancer away if treatment does go to plan. This could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.  

“We will do anything we can to give Poppy the bright future that she deserves,” says Claire.  

How you can help  

There are many ways you can help Poppy: by making a personal donation; by sharing her story on Facebook, holding a fundraising event; getting sponsored to take on a challenge.  

To donate by text, send “POPPYB” followed by any whole amount up to £20 to 70085. This will cost your donation plus your standard network charge. It won’t matter if you leave a space before the number, if you include a ‘£’ sign or whether you use upper or lower case.  

Download our free Poppy resources below to support your fundraising.  

Sponsorship Form       Campaign Poster      Event Poster

You can make a donation via this page.  

If you’d like to help to support Poppy’s campaign, please get in touch with the fundraising team on 0207 284 0800 and [email protected]  

Please note the total amount of donations displayed on this page is the fundraising total for Poppy's campaign.

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