Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The US. A Trip That May Save Teenager's Life; Fundraising Events to Help Reach Target of PS5,000

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The US. A Trip That May Save Teenager's Life; Fundraising Events to Help Reach Target of PS5,000

Article excerpt

Byline: KATIE DAVIES

COURAGEOUS teenager Alex Neal is to make a trip to America for last-ditch treatment that could save her life.

The 17-year-old was diagnosed with a chondrosarcoma, a rare tumour, which only affects in 1% of people living in the UK.

Alex had been suffering from problems with her eyes and after a scan medics discovered a bone tumour growing in her pituitary gland and brain, attached to nerves in her eye.

Despite undergoing brain surgery at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary, surgeons were only able to take away half of the lump.

Now Alex must fly thousands of miles to Jacksonville, in Florida, America, where she will spend more than nine weeks undergoing gruelling radiotherapy to kill the cancer, and save her life.

The sixth form student is unable to open her right eye and it is not known whether or not it will return following the treatment.

The proton beam therapy was only developed in 2008 and is only available in two states in the US.

Alex's dad Steven, 49, who is originally from Washington but now living in Castletown, Sunderland, said: "Alex must have the treatment or the tumour will continue to grow and it could be life-threatening.

"When we were told Alex had cancer we were just in total shock and we wanted to know as much as possible. The main thing was to find out what treatment was available. It's the unknown that is the hardest part to deal with."

The NHS will fund the treatment in America and will pay for one parent to be with Alex in America.

However, the family believe Alex needs her mum Michelle Burdis, 43, a sales assistant, to be there and are now hoping to raise enough money to get her to the US in time for Alex to have the operation in the next couple of months.

Janette Neal, Alex's aunt, also of Washington, and Alex's four sisters and two brothers, are organising a number of fundraising events to reach their target of PS5,000. …

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