NHS Pays £100,000 To Help Toddler Beat Cancer

14/08/2014 16:58 | Updated 20 May 2015

Parents Lesley Barsby and Paul Topley with their son Caine Topley and daughter Bethany Topley

The family of a two-year-old girl with cancer on her face have been told she can have treatment in the US after the NHS agreed to pay the £100,000 bill.

Bethany Topley's parents were told surgery in the UK to remove a cancer tumour in her muscles would mean that she would lose an eye, cheek and half her nose.

But Bethany and her family will now fly to Oklahoma City for three months so the toddler can have radiotherapy.

Similar treatment here would stop her bones growing but the US doctors can use a proton beam that targets the radiotherapy to a specific area.

Mum Lesley Barsby, 23, of Stapleford, Notts, told her local paper: "When we were told about the cancer, I broke down.

"We're extremely grateful to the NHS. This treatment will give her a fighting chance."

Bethany has already been treated with chemotherapy in the UK.

But, according to doctors, to completely remove the cancer in this country, surgeons would have to remove part of Bethany's eye, cheek and half her nose or use radiotherapy, which would stop her bones growing and would cause her to have a shrunken face.

However, in America she can be treated with a proton beam, which allows the radiotherapy to be controlled and delivered to a certain location without the risks associated with treatment in Britain.

National charity Kids'n'Cancer has stepped forward to pay for Bethany's brother Caine, four, to travel with his parents and sister to the US, so the family can stay together over the next three months.

Dad Paul Topley, 33, of Ryecroft Street, said: "Unfortunately, Bethany has a rare, aggressive form of the cancer.

"They thought at first that it was just a cyst but when we had it removed and it was sent for testing, it was revealed exactly what it was.

"It was about the size of a 10 pence piece and was closing one of her nostrils. When we were told, we were all upset and shocked and just couldn't believe it.

"Three or four weeks ago, we were told we would have to travel to America for treatment after doctors up and down the country looked at Bethany's case.

"We are so thankful to the NHS and all the doctors that have made this possible for us.

"Bethany has a very tight bond with her brother and we could not have separated them for so long but thankfully, Kids'n'Cancer have offered to pay for him – which has taken a lot of stress and worry away from us."


Suggest a correction