Three-year-old Nottinghamshire girl beats cancer thanks to new treatment in US
THE brave toddler who flew to the US for pioneering cancer treatment “has had her life given back” – one year after the gruelling ten-week procedure.
Bethany Topley, three, was diagnosed with the disease when she was 11 months old after her parents found a lump under her left eye.
After discovering the Stapleford tot could not be treated in the UK, the NHS paid £100,000 for the Topley family to be flown to Oklahoma so that Bethany could be treated with new technology.
The youngster set out on her life-saving journey almost one year ago and is due for her latest check-up today after the procedure was deemed a success.
Her father, Paul Topley, 34, of Ryecroft Street, Stapleford, said: “Bethany has really come out of her shell and she is incredibly strong-willed.
“She is a three year old going on 30 and if she doesn’t want to do something she won’t do it.
“There is a lot of relief for us as a family but there are still doubts about if the cancer will come back or not.
“When she first started playgroup it was very emotional for us because she was well enough to be left alone for the first time. She has had her life given back thanks to the treatment and the support of everyone.”
To treat Bethany in this country doctors said that to completely remove the cancer, surgeons would have to cut away her eye, cheek and half of her nose – or use radiotherapy, which would stop her bones growing.
To avoid that the treatment in America was with a hi-tech proton beam, which allows the radiotherapy to be controlled.
The toddler was treated every day for 10 weeks, which included being put to sleep so that specialists could aim the radiotherapy beam at the right place on her face.
Bethany’s mother Lesley Barsby is now looking forward to the future.
The 24-year-old said: “She now has a lot more hair and is wearing clothes for three-to-four-year-olds instead of 18 months, which shows how much she has grown.
“She has to wear glasses but other than that you would never know and she is going from strength to strength.
“We just all feel like a healthy normal family with a typical three-year-old.
“We never thought that she would go to playgroup but she is now going three days a week.
“There were times when we thought that we were going to lose her but she just kept fighting.
“When we go to hospital for check-ups now she remembers what to do and it is like nothing ever happened.
“Every day is one more step and we are thankful for each and every one.”
Although the NHS paid for flights, accommodation and treatment for Bethany and her parents, it was unable to pay for her brother to go with them or provide any living expenses.
After hearing this Kids’n’Cancer stepped in to cover the costs of keeping the family together.
Charity founder Mike Hyman said: “Bethany is an amazing little girl who fills people with joy. It is heartwarming to get a hug from her and Bethany is exactly the reason we set up the charity.
“We want to make a difference where it seems no difference can be made.”