A Hull schoolgirl has been left paralysed after back pain which was thought to have come from pulling a muscle while at a pool party turned out to be one of the world’s rarest forms of cancer.
When 10-year-old Cammi Denby complained of an ache between her shoulder blades to her parents Jemma and Craig in April, the couple assumed she had pulled something whilst swimming with friends at a birthday party the day before.
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But with the pain refusing to subside after a few weeks and Cammi’s legs starting to feel weak, the family decided to get her checked over by doctors.
What was thought to have been a sports injury was in fact a 7cm tumour which had already spread down her spine and legs and into the plural cavity of her lungs.
Within four days, Cammi was paralysed.
Doctors at Hull Royal Infirmary diagnosed the youngster with Ewing Sarcoma, a soft tissue cancer which is generally considered one of the top five rarest cancers ever seen.
Only 600 people are diagnosed with Ewing’s each year in the UK, and it is so rare that any diagnosed case is likely to be the only one ever seen by a doctor in their lifetime.
“For weeks, we thought it was a muscle injury,” said Cammi’s mum, Jemma.
“Over a space of four days, she was paralysed. The tumour was growing into her spinal cord and into the legs.
“She was diagnosed in June and had her first surgery to remove the spinal cord tumour.”
Since then, Cammi has now been in and out of hospital for several rounds of chemotherapy at Leeds General Infirmary, meaning she and Jemma are often separated from dad Craig and little sisters Ronnie, five, and four-year-old Rae.
She has also been accepted for a course of proton beam therapy at Manchester, which will begin later this month.
Jemma, 36, meanwhile, has put her dreams of studying to work in operating theatres on hold as she travels between Hull and Leeds for Cammi’s treatment.
The mum-of-three added: “She’s probably going to be in hospital for her birthday and Christmas.
“She’s been heartbroken missing out on so much – losing the use of your legs is incredibly traumatic.
Jemma said that even after major surgery earlier this week, removing part of the tumour in her lung, she has been “up and recovering amazingly”.
“Her bravery and resilience has been outstanding,” she said.
“She has just had nine cycles of chemo and she’s just tolerated it so, so well. She’s continuously surpassed doctors’ expectations with her recovery.”
The family have set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money to give the poorly youngster a holiday, and have pledged to donate 25% of whatever is raised to Leeds charity Candlelighters, which has provided accommodation for Jemma while Cammi is treated.
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