Although she suffered from a rare form of cancer that was known to eventually take the life of the patient, this little girl never lost hope and spirit. She was declared the first in the world to beat this form of incurable cancer. But then just after four months of complete recovery, the little brave girl could not fight anymore and died in her sleep.
In June 2011, Claudia Burkill was diagnosed with Metastatic PineoBlastoma—an inoperable brain tumor.
It all began when Claudia was just five years old. They were on a holiday, and the mother noticed Claudia had developed a squint. She then became ill and had to be taken to hospital. Not comfortable with the diagnosis, the parents took her to a different hospital. This was when the doctors spotted the aggressive tumor in the center of her brain.
And then their grueling fight began. Claudia started to undergo treatment; however, knowing the disease was fatal and that their child was terminally ill, the parents and the entire family were in great pain all along. On four separate occasions, her family was told she had days—in some cases hours—to live. The family had even gone ahead and made preparations for her funeral.
But this little girl was a fighter.
The doctors tried an Italian treatment called The Milan Protocol which involved 44 sessions of radiology and some of the highest doses of chemotherapy ever administered to a child her age … and, it worked.
The doctors were able to reverse the effects of the cancerous tumor, and announced to the family that she was cured.
The family has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help the research center at the University of Nottingham work towards finding a cure for brain tumors in children.
After a three-year struggle, the mother, Andrea, finally received a call one Saturday night with the amazing news.
The relieved and delighted mom, Andrea, wrote: “We have just received possibly the most terrifying phone call of our entire lifetime… a phone call from a consultant, Claudia’s consultant, Dr Sophie Wilne at 1730hrs on a Saturday evening.”
“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 breathe and not just scream myself into a senseless fit.”
“I will try and get online tomorrow and write a full explanation to the very best of my limited medical knowledge but…..”
“CLAUDIA IS CLEAR…..CLAUDIA IS CANCER FREE.”
“CLAUDIA IS NO LONGER CLASSED AS TERMINALLY ILL.”
“A miracle has happened, it really has………I just can’t stop shaking and I need to sign off. Love to each and every one of you.”
The family announced the news on their Facebook page they used to help raise vital cash for research.
The Facebook post has since been liked by more than 302,000 people.
This type of cancer is extremely rare and doctors only see three or four cases a year.
Claudia’s life was out of danger, but she had suffered some brain damage from the treatment. The family remained positive that from here on her health would continue to improve. They knew she was a fighter and she would do well.
Their joy knew no bounds!
“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.”
The sisters Abigail and Esme decided that they’d break the incredibly miraculous news to Claudia.
The sisters held hands as they broke the news, and Claudia just smiled and said “yay!” Just a little word, signifying a cry of victory!
Consultant pediatric oncologist Dr. Sophie Wilne said, “This is a very difficult brain tumor to treat so I am delighted that three years later Claudia has beaten the odds.”
“Her latest MRI scan shows no evidence of tumor which is excellent news.”
This was not the end of the story.
Just four months after the family were assured by medics, who were themselves amazed that the tumor had miraculously vanished and that the little girl had beaten the odds, Claudia passed away in her sleep after fighting a long battle lasting 3 years.
Her mother, Andrea, said: “Claudia died peacefully in her sleep in the early hours of this morning. Despite her long illness, ultimately, her death is an incredible shock to all that know and love her.
“We urge everyone to treat our family with the grace and dignity that you yourselves would wish for, if your life has just been destroyed in an instant.
“Please give us our privacy as we come to terms with Claudia’s death and please give us our space to grieve.”