In loving memory of Vanessa Riddle

Vanessa was a gutsy, happy young woman who lost her decade-long battle with cancer just days before her 18th birthday.

Vanessa’s father Chris shared this message:

“It’s with immense sadness that I write this post. This morning, our beautiful daughter Vanessa passed away peacefully at home with Connie, Olivia and I. Vanessa has been such a huge inspiration to many and will continue to live on in our hearts forever.”

Vanessa's story

Vanessa was first diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma in 2009, beating the disease and getting into remission.

However, she relapsed in December 2011 and was given a less than 10% chance of survival. As there was no relapse protocol for her available in the UK, her parents - Chris and Connie - immediately launched a fundraising appeal with Solving Kids’ Cancer (then the Neuroblastoma Alliance UK) to raise the funds needed to send Vanessa for treatment abroad.

Following further tests and consultations after the relapse, Vanessa was found to be a good candidate for a treatment in Germany, a Haploidentical Stem Cell transplant, and she started it in August 2012.

In January 2013, the family were told that Vanessa’s cancer was in remission. She was able to go back to school and start living a normal life again.

But in 2014, the neuroblastoma returned. The family decided that their best hope was to receive further treatment back in Germany and so enrolled Vanessa onto an immunotherapy trial with NK [Natural Killer cells]. Devastatingly, while on a family holiday in the summer of 2015, Vanessa became symptomatic and new areas of disease were discovered.

Vanessa was treated at her primary treating centre in Scotland which included radiotherapy and by the Autumn of 2016, a slot was available for her to join the T Cell CAR trial at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Vanessa took everything in her stride and always with a smile but Vanessa sadly passed away on 1st June 2018, surrounded by her dear family.

The money left from Vanessa’s Appeal will now be used to help other children and families affected by neuroblastoma, and Chris and Connie are keeping donations open in Vanessa’s name.