A CANCER fund for a toddler has hit its £250,000 target – on the first anniversary of her diagnosis.
Two-year-old Anya Bentham’s parents celebrated the “absolutely brilliant news” of reaching the target on Thursday – a year to the day after the tot was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of childhood cancer.
Mum Naomi Stanley, who went to school in Connah’s Quay, has thanked the ‘selfless’ fundraisers who have raised the six-figure sum inside just a year.
After the shock diagnosis last October, Naomi and Anya’s dad, Graeme Bentham – the couple met at Connah’s Quay Power Station where they both worked– embarked upon raising the money to pay for pioneering immunotherapy treatment in America, which is not available on the National Health Service.
In July it was learned that Anya was clear of cancer but doctors warned the chances of a relapse were extremely high.
The fundraising continued, with Anya’s parents knowing the money would offer Anya the best chance of survival were the disease to return.
Naomi and Graeme said on Facebook: “We’re delighted to announce that we’ve reached our initial target tonight and thanks to everyone’s generosity, the current fundraising amount now stands at £250,103.93.
“This is absolutely brilliant news and well timed, on the anniversary of Anya’s diagnosis.
“It doesn’t just stop here though.”
Her parents said they would continue fundraising for Anya and the Neuroblastoma Children’s Cancer Alliance as well as raising awareness for the disease.
They added: “The funds we raise can only be used for overseas treatment for Anya or in the event Anya does not need further treatment, it will help fund treatment for other children or research to help fight this disease.
“Please continue supporting the appeal as well as following Anya’s progress over the next phase of treatment.”
Anya, who lives in Christleton, Chester, is still undergoing radiotherapy to ensure her body stays clear of the cancer, and has been given the chance to take part in a Europe-wide immunotherapy trial at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, which will start on November 11.
Anya’s story has touched the hearts of people across the region, with thousands of people working to raise money.
Her parents said when she was first diagnosed their “world fell apart”.
Naomi said: “Our old life was blown away during that conversation [with the doctors]. Who we were as people was completely changed. It never sinks it.
“I still struggle to accept the reality that our beautiful daughter has cancer.”
She added: “I wish I could say that after a year of gruelling treatment that it was over but Anya faces at least another six months of crucial treatment in the hope to prevent relapse.
“Our daughter is our hero and our champion. We love you so, so much.”
To donate to the Anya Bentham appeal, visit www.justgiving.com