Good news for a change! This past summer, parents to 5-year-old Erin Cross were devastated to learn their daughter was facing a leukemia relapse. This time around, doctors told them chemotherapy alone wouldn't save their daughter. She needed a bone marrow transplant. However, in order to be a candidate for a transplant, she first needed to be in remission from cancer.
Amidst these daunting circumstances, there was one hope. A potentially life-saving treatment—a Car T Cell experimental trial—was available in Seattle. But Erin didn’t have much time. If she didn’t get the treatment within just eight weeks, they would lose her. The family, who lives in the UK, didn’t have insurance that would pay for medical costs in the United States.
So in a race against time, her parents put out a plea to raise £100,000 on GoFundMe for Erin’s treatment. With a figure so large, and time so short, it’s hard to fathom what her mom and dad were feeling.
In a testament to very best of the internet, the story went viral. People from all over the world (this writer included) came together to raise the funds for the little girl. In the end, the donations topped £150,000 (more than $180,000) to cover treatment and expenses for the family.
It was a long road. After getting the T Cell infusion, Erin stayed in the hospital for three weeks with persistent fever, seizures, and needing to be on a ventilator. Eventually, her symptoms subsided.
"She all of a sudden got her energy," Erin’s mom told ABC News.
Just recently, Erin’s mom provided this happy update. "It's been an extremely anxious wait," she said. "I was making the breakfast in the kitchen at Ronald McDonald House yesterday morning when I got the phone call from the team at Seattle Children's Hospital. They had lots to tell us about Erin's bone marrow sample but they just wanted to get the important news to us first that the sample was clear of leukemia. I just broke down crying.”
It’s the first time Erin has been leukemia-free since March.
Erin, now 6, is on her way back home to get a bone marrow transplant, the next phase of her life-saving treatment.
Erin’s mom thinks her motherly instinct played a role in their story. She told the Chester Chronicle, “I'm just so glad I went with my gut and pushed forward with getting Erin on the trial here at Seattle. I knew that the T Cell therapy would be the only option for Erin with the chemotherapy not working—I think mother's instinct was working hard at that point!”
Photo via GoFundMe