Molly Chapman was just five years old when she was diagnosed with an extra-renal rhabdoid tumour.
After visiting their family GP when she developed a small lump on her neck, nothing prepared her parents Adam and Louise for the numbness, bewilderment, pain and confusion they felt when they were told the seriousness of Molly’s condition.
Following 14 gruelling rounds of chemotherapy, Molly was expected to receive radiotherapy at The Christie. However the chance of serious side effects she might never recover from proved too severe and an alternative of proton beam therapy in the USA was suggested.
Proton beam therapy is particularly effective for treating children with certain cancers who are at risk of lasting damage to organs that are still growing.
Molly was treated over the course of three months in Florida, followed by more chemotherapy on her return to the UK. Following her treatment, Molly has gone from strength to strength and is even back at school full time. Her hair, energy, and muscle mass re-joined her smile which never left her. She now has scans and examinations every three months to check on the status of the remaining mass in her neck which so far appears stable and hopefully will remain so.
The new proton beam therapy centre is due to open at The Christie later in autumn 2018, which will save many children like Molly an arduous trip abroad at such a vulnerable period of their lives.
Thanks to the support of many of our supporters, including Molly’s family, our charity has funded a proton beam therapy research room, which will allow a team of the best scientists, engineers and clinicians in the world to better understand how protons interact, and how this pioneering treatment can be harnessed to cure further cancers like Molly’s.