Claudia Burkill, 8, of Market Rasen, England, is ‘the first to beat brain cancer’. An eight-year-old girl who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer three years ago has become the first person in the world to beat the illness.
Claudia Burkill, of Mount Rasen in England, was told she had metastatic pineoblastoma, a malignant brain tumour, at the age of five.
On a number of times the family was told Claudia had just weeks to live and had planned her funeral.
Then on the weekend, three years to the day since Claudia’s mum Andrea Burkill first called a hospital about her daughter’s health, the family’s prayers were answered.
“Claudia is cancer-free and no longer classed as terminally ill,” Mrs Burkill wrote on her daughter’s Facebook page. “A miracle has happened, it really has. I just can’t stop shaking.”
Only about four cases of metastatic pineoblastoma are diagnosed every year and there is a survival rate of less than five per cent worldwide.
In June 2011 the Burkill family arrived home from a holiday when Claudia started vomiting.
Andrea and David Burkill were not satisfied when doctors diagnosed her with a virus after doing a series of tests including a CAT scan, a lumbar puncture and an MRI.
After taking her to the Queens Medical Centre Nottingham doctors found the tumour in the centre of her brain.
The family agreed for Claudia to undergo an experimental Italian treatment which involving 44 sessions of radiotherapy.
While she has some residual brain damage as a result of the treatment the Burkill family, including Claudia’s siblings Abigail, Esme and Zachery, believe they can get through anything.
“We had lived with a terminal diagnosis with death believed to be imminent for a crazy 694 days,” Mrs Burkill wrote. “Today is the very first day in a very long time that I can look into the eyes of our four stunning children and “know” that I don’t have to plan the funeral of one of them in the very near future.”
“The mere joy of being alive today far surpasses any other single day in my life so far,” she wrote. “There are no signs of any tumour, any leptomeningeal spread or any recurrent disease, anywhere.
Mrs Burkill said news of Claudia’s recovery had spread across the world.
“Monday, it was the local news, Tuesday, it was the national news and yes, you guessed it, today it is international news with newspapers in Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Peru and a hundred more all covering Claudia’s amazing news! I guess the exciting news for us today, as a family is, is that Claudia’s new wheelchair is ready tomorrow and so she will have a brand new set of sporty wheels to get around in,” she said. “On top of that, her hair.....a brand new blonde hairstyle, which actually made me cry because she looks, just like she did before cancer, is ready to collect next week.”
“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 wrote. “She has paid a high price, we all have, however, she does have her life and we 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.”