Miraculous survival of Market Rasen girl given weeks to live


A Market Rasen girl given just six weeks to live has miraculously been given the all-clear.

Eight-year-old Claudia Burkill is believed to be the first person in the world to survive a brain cancer known as metastatic pineoblastoma.

The extremely rare case was first uncovered three years ago, which led to at least 40 sessions of chemotherapy, which has cost Claudia her speech.

Her plight also led to an award winning campaign by her parents Dave and Annie to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity.

‘Claudia’s Cause’ also attracted 150,000 likes on Facebook and more than 31,000 comments.

Today, parents Annie and Dave told the Market Rasen Mail they were too busy to comment as they have “quite a lot of appointments” planned for the week.

But they have outlined how the good news was broke and their reaction to it on the ‘Claudia’s Cause’ Facebook site.

The Facebook site was set up three years ago when the couple received the then tragic news, a site that has charted Claudia’s ordeal over the past three years.

But on Saturday, following a 5.30pm call from Claudia’s consultant, Dr Sophie Wilne, the couple were able to post the heartwarming news.

“They have the official MRI results and we needed them sooner rather than later. I will keep this incredibly brief as I am finding it impossible to concentrate, impossible to focus and in truth to breather and not just scream myself into a senseless fit.”

Yesterday, dad Dave posted Claudia was no longer classed as terminal, and though “not out of the woods” Claudia’s situation is far better than it was.

In a second post, the couple recalled how they noticed “something seriously wrong” with Claudia, which was “the very start of a heart wrenching and devastating three years, where mostly, the only news seemed to be bad.”

They had always believed death for Claudia was imminent and for the first time the parents no longer had to plan the funeral of one of their children.

“Today, is our first day of freedom, a freedom so far lost and forgotten, the mere joy of being alive today far surpasses any other single day in my life so far.”

The Facebook page also reports: “There are no signs of any tumour, any leptomeningeal spread or any recurrent disease, anywhere.

“She does however have a brain volume much less than what would be usual for an eight-year-old little girl and she does have large amounts of treatment related brain damage, as previously thought.

“There is an area at the back of the brain which has taken up the dye (usually indicative of abnormal cells such as cancer, or it can be damaged tissue so impossible to tell the difference) BUT this is far less than a year ago and believed by everyone once again, to be damage as if it was cancer, it is so aggressive, that by now, almost a full year off treatment, she would, being blunt, be dead or have masses of tumour and most definitely leptomeningeal spread around her central nervous system.

“Claudia was treated in accordance with The Milan Protocol, being one of the very first (if not actually the very first) to be treated by it. Since her treatment, other children have since been treated, in Italy as far as I am aware, and they too have now all shown such devastating symptoms of severe brain damage too, so much so, that now, the protocol has actually been scrapped.

“So, there still isn’t a cure. Others, diagnosed today will not be treated with this protocol due to the severity of it. However, we like to think that Claudia has played a part in helping, the hundreds and possibly thousands of other children that will be diagnosed with a brain tumour in the future.

“The drugs, methods and effects of the treatment are well documented and will be used for the good of others.

“Depending on your views, we are the luckiest people in this world, Claudia is believed to be the very first little girl in the world ever to survive metastatic pineoblastoma.

“She has paid a high price, we all have, however, she does have her life. A life that we, her family, are dedicated to making the very best that it can be for her - a life where she can experience love, joy and happiness in abundance and be cherished always.”