Sarcoma: Mother blown away as Harrogate Grammar School classmates raise £25,000 for daughter with rare cancer

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Classmates of 16-year-old Elizabeth Hatton of Harrogate have raised more than £25,000 for her in just a few days after a shock cancer diagnosis

A grateful mother has said she has been “blown away” by the response to a fundraising appeal which has seen classmates rally round her teenage daughter after she was diagnosed with one of the rarest forms of cancer.

Vicky Robayna, a former teacher in Harrogate, said the generosity of people - many at Harrogate Grammar School, and many who did not even know 16-year-old Elizabeth Hatton - in donating more than £25,000 in just five days was simply incredible.

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"We have been completely blown away with the love, kindness and generosity that has come our way,” she said. "We cannot believe the kindness and generosity of so many people - both those we know and love and those we have never even met.

“The future is far from certain, and whilst we may not be able to give Elizabeth the future she has dreamed of, we are determined to give her the best possible life for however long she has left.”

Elizabeth, 16, who is in the Lower Sixth at Harrogate Grammar School after impressive results in her GCSEs, has Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumour.

So rare is this aggressive form of sarcoma, there are only 12 cases per year in the UK, 80 per cent of which are in males.

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Until just over a month ago, the family had never even heard of the condition. After experiencing abdominal pain and some bloating, Elizabeth was taken to A&E. The diagnosis was devastating.

Following a scan, doctors revealed Elizabeth had tumours on both ovaries, multiple in her liver and a larger mass in her omentum and peritoneum.

In general, only 15 per cent of those diagnosed survive beyond five years. Less than a week ago, Vicky launched a fundraising campaign via GoFundMe with two main aims – giving her daughter the best possible chance of being in that 15% and ensuring that Elizabeth has as many memorable moments as possible.

That will include giving her access to one of this very creative and cultural youngster’s great passions – photography.

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Vicky said: "We want to raise £15,000 to consult with a specialist in Elizabeth’s cancer in America in the hope that she will work alongside Elizabeth’s brilliant consultant in the UK. She is spearheading research and is involved in setting up clinical trials; we hope she will have knowledge that will help Elizabeth to live a longer life.

"Luckily Elizabeth does not need to travel to America to see her as she offers remote consultations abroad. It costs around £5,000 per appointment including a review of the latest scans and testing her UK consultant has done. Any funds raised beyond this will go to helping Elizabeth purchase photography equipment.

"Her dream is to become a professional photographer and, although in normal circumstances we would have encouraged her to save for what she needed, our normal rules flew out of the window about the same time as her diagnosis flew in. Additionally, we would like to make sure that Elizabeth has as many memorable moments as possible, both so she can have incredible experiences and so that her friends and family get to store as many incredible memories of her as possible.”

Elizabeth’s younger brother Mateo is doing his bit to boost her appeal by volunteering to shave his head. To contribute to the campaign, click here.

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