Urgent bid to bring Olivia home

Olivia Downie
Olivia Downie

Cancer-stricken youngster Olivia Downie travelled to Mexico earlier this month for photodynamic therapy, becoming the first child in Scotland to receive the treatment at the Hope 4 Cancer Institute.

The family had discovered that Olivia had stage four neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer, in 2009.

Since then, her family and the community have raised funds wherever possible.

She underwent surgery and chemotherapy to treat the tumour and was given the all-clear in 2010, but her family were forced to fly her to Germany when the cancer returned.

Her parents thought Olivia had conquered her illness, but new tumours were detected in her spine and behind her breast bone.

The couple hoped treatment in Mexico would save her life, but it was discovered that fluid had spread to her lungs and brain.

The family, along with Families Against Neoroblastoma, a charity dedicated to helping families with the cancer, had set up a Just Giving page to help with donations, which can be found at www.justgiving.com/olivia-downie-appeal.

On it, the charity have been giving updates on how Olivia has been coping with the flight to Mexico.

“Olivia has arrived safely in Mexico after a difficult flight and she is resting. Treatment needs to begin as soon as possible this week if Olivia is to have the best chance at survival possible.”

This was updated this week with the tragic news that Olivia was in critical condition at a Mexican hospital.

“Sadly Olivia took a turn for a worse early on in treatment and has been transferred to a hospital near by. Olivia is now dying and we need to bring her home. We are thankful for every person who donated to Olivia’s appeal, giving her the last chance she so rightly deserved, but now we are hopeful that people will donate towards the costs of her emergency medical costs and her transport home.

“We are fearful that our window of opportunity to bring Olivia home on a commercial flight may have closed. Contingency plans are in place to send an air ambulance to bring her home. This comes at a cost of £65,000 on top of the previously mentioned costs. The total on this page includes monies spent prior to Olivia becoming gravely ill. We are aiming for the total on this page to stand at approximately £110,000,” the page says.

Over 3000 donations have been made to the page, amounting to £51,630.77 in donations (as of the morning of June 22).

Her mother, Lauren, 27, who is 25 weeks’ pregnant, said: “I am hoping for a miracle where we can take her home and have her for a little while.

“My best-case scenario is to get home, so if she was going to die she could be surrounded by her family and friends – not here.

“We want her surrounded by friends and family that love her, not strangers in Mexico.

“She was in quite a bad condition when we came, but now she’s critical.

“The charity that we’re involved with is already having to fork out money that we don’t have. Any support we can get to help get her back home would be a massive help.

“I don’t know what the next few hours or days will be like. I asked the doctors what her chances of dying are and they would just tell me she’s in critical condition.”

Her mother added: “Olivia has taken a turn for the worst. She couldn’t even hear me. I was trying to tell her that I love her, but she couldn’t hear me.

“I was holding her hand and telling her to squeeze if she could hear me, but she didn’t even move.”