Huge response to fundraising appeal for Harrogate girl with rare cancer
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Last updated Feb 25, 2024
Elizabeth and brother Mateo, who plans to shave his hair.

A fundraising page for a 16-year-year old Harrogate Grammar School pupil diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer has raised about £14,000 within four days of being set up.

Elizabeth Hatton went to hospital with abdominal pain and bloating five weeks ago.

Scans revealed tumours on both ovaries, in her liver and a larger mass in her omentum and peritoneum.

Three days later mum Vicky Robayna said the family’s world was “torn apart” when Elizabeth was diagnosed with desmoplastic small round cell tumour – a sarcoma so rare there are only 12 cases a year in the UK, of which 80% are in males.

Nobody has found a treatment that works and only 15% of those diagnosed survive beyond five years.

Elizabeth’s seven-year-old brother Mateo decided to shave his hair to raise money for his big sister, who is undergoing chemotherapy, and Vicky set up a gofundme page to raise £25,000.

Money raised will fund treatment and help buy photography equipment for Elizabeth, whose dream is to be a professional photographer.

Vicky, who works as a teacher, said on gofundme:

“In the last four weeks things we previously thought were important no longer seem so.

“Our sole priority now is to give Elizabeth the best possible chance of being in the 15% whilst ensuring we make the most of every single day we have.

“The future is uncertain and whilst we may not be able to give Elizabeth the future she has dreamed of, we are determined to give her the best possible life for however long she has left.”

Elizabeth and Mateo before her diagnosis.

Vicky told the Stray Ferret the family hoped to use some of the funds raised to arrange an online consultation with an American doctor called Emily Slotkin, who is regarded as the leading global expert on treating children with this kind of sarcoma.

An online consultation will cost £5,000 but the first priority is to get rid of the multiple liver tumours by chemotherapy.

Vicky, who said the family had received the best possible medical care, said funds would also be spent on making every day special for Elizabeth. She added:

“We have to wait until the time is right before contacting the doctor. We are not unrealistic enough to think she will wave a magic wand but we want to do everything we can to have the best chance and to give Elizabeth the best quality of life.”

She added the family had been overwhelmed by the response to the fundraising appeal and she was proud of Mateo’s willingness to lose his hair to help his sister:

”Despite their age difference, Mateo and Elizabeth are incredibly close and both gain comfort and strength from each other.

“She is quite literally his world so doing this for her is bringing him so much joy.”

Mateo hopes to shave his hair on Thursday this week, assuming Elizabeth is well enough from her chemotherapy that day to support him.

You can support the appeal to help Elizabeth here.


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