A happy birthday for little AmeliaBy Victoria Smith
June 22, 2012
A young brain tumour sufferer who has inspired Wokingham people to raise more than £205,000 in just a few weeks has turned four.
Little Amelia Saunders, of Lower Earley, was given between three weeks and three months to live four months ago when she was diagnosed with an aggressive brain stem tumour.
However, this month she celebrated her fourth birthday with parents Chantal and Richard and little sister Charlotte, who is one.
Mr Saunders said: “We continue to be positive, and want so much for our daughter to be one of the few who survive this thing and live a normal life.”
After the diagnosis in February, Mr and Mrs Saunders researched options for treatment for Amelia and came across the Burzynski Clinic in Texas, America, where experimental treatment on brain tumours is taking place.
They set about raising the £200,000 needed to fund the treatment and have since smashed this target. Amelia started treatment in March and an MRI has since shown her tumour has stopped growing. Another MRI scan is due to take place this week.
The Saunders family has been grieving this month following the death of two children, Billie Bainbridge, five, from Devon, and Supatra Adler, seven, from Cambridgeshire, who were also being treated at Burzynski.
Mr Saunders said: “Billie and Supatra’s deaths have weighed very heavily on our minds. I’m not going to deny the guilt that we feel that two families have lost their child, and that Amelia is alive and relatively well.
“We cope with the side-effects of her treatment, the odd day when she is poorly, but we cope. Her quality of life is pretty good for a child who has a tumour so large and in the place it is.”
The Saunders family is being filmed for a new documentary on Dr Burzynski’s patients.
Mr and Mrs Saunders have gone against the treatment advice of NHS doctors, believing the Burzynski treatment is giving Amelia a better chance of beating her tumour.
Mr Saunders said: “All I am trying to say is that the five-year survival rate of brain tumours in the UK is 12 per cent for males and 15 per cent for females.
“To us this is disastrous, and I cannot see how anybody can say that current treatment is effective when these are the figures. And the numbers of kids getting these tumours is only going up.”