Milnrow family in desperate race to raise £175,000 towards life-saving cancer treatment abroad for toddler daughter

Date published: 12 March 2018

A family from Milnrow are urgently appealing for help in raising £175,000 towards life-saving cancer treatment for their two-year-old daughter.

Two-year-old Bodie McNulty was initially diagnosed with a brain tumour shortly after Christmas 2016 when she was just 10 months old.  

Bodie started with symptoms of sickness and constant tiredness, which rapidly progressed into losing the ability to crawl, sit up or even support her own head. 

After her sixth visit to the local A&E department, a locum doctor suggested Bodie’s parents, Lauren Thornton and Kevin McNulty, get an ultrasound of their daughter’s brain after checking her reflexes.

The ultrasound revealed ‘an abnormality’ and Bodie was transferred to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where she was rushed for an MRI scan.

Mum Lauren said: “They told us the heart-breaking news the next morning that she had a brain tumour big enough to occupy one fifth of her skull.”

The brave little girl underwent her first surgery on New Year’s Eve 2016 to relieve pressure in her skull, before a further operation just four days later to remove as much as the tumour as possible. After nine hours of intensive surgery, only around half of the tumour could be safely removed.

Two weeks after the operation, Bodie was diagnosed with a Grade Three Anaplastic Posterior Fossa Ependymoma, the third most common type of childhood brain tumour which affects glial cells. Glial cells surround nerve cells, providing support and insulation.

Grade Three Anaplastic Ependymoma, which commonly originate in the posterior fossa, a small space in the skull near the brainstem and cerebellum, are the fastest growing type of ependymal tumour.

Since then, Bodie has endured 12 months of chemotherapy, which Lauren says worked “far better than her consultant had previously thought”. Bodie also underwent two additional operations in February 2018, although a small amount of the tumour has been left behind, inoperable due to its location in her brainstem.   

Lauren continued: “For the past two months we were on track for proton beam therapy, which we were confident would be funded by the NHS. However, Bodie’s most recent MRI scan has shown a previously-unnoticed mass within her brain stem.”

On 8 March, the family received the devastating news that the new discovery is part of the original tumour and not new growth, meaning Bodie is not eligible for NHS-funded proton beam therapy - the tumour now exceeds the size requirements for NHS funding by just millimetres.

The family now faces raising £175,000 to travel abroad for the proton beam therapy, which avoids targeting healthy brain tissue unlike photon radiotherapy. Unavailable in the UK, Bodie’s parents have approached centres in Germany, Prague and Florida for quotes.

Lauren said: “Although the NHS won’t fund the proton beam therapy for our daughter, they will full support us in self-funding for the treatment overseas. If you can help us in any way it would give Bodie a better chance at beating her cancer and living a full life.”

To help fund Bodie’s life-saving treatment, visit:

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