Coronavirus: Wrexham girl cannot travel for tumour treatment

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media captionEva's father, Paul Slapa, says the generosity of strangers has been "amazing"

Plans for a girl's brain tumour to be treated abroad could be frustrated because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Nine-year-old Eva, from Wrexham, has a high-grade diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG).

Her parents Paul Slapa and Carran Williams have raised £250,000 for treatment in the US.

But the travel ban means they are waiting to see when they can fly to the US. Mr Slapa said the situation was "totally out of our control".

Only three weeks after launching a fundraising page online, the family managed to reach their target in time to begin clinical trials in New York at the end of April.

Her father said to reach the target and not be able to travel was "very frustrating."

Eva's radiotherapy finished about six weeks ago and a recent scan showed her tumour has shrunk.

Mr Slapa said: "Ultimately it will grow again, but shrinking it as much as it can do, gives us time to continue to fundraise.

"Because of the way Eva's responded, it has bought time.

"As everyone else is, we're just waiting for the Covid-19 situation to pass.

"We also know that we have that little bit of time and, as soon as we can travel, we will."

image source, Williams family
image captionEva with father Paul and baby brother

Mr Slapa called people's kindness "humbling."

He and his wife were almost "speechless" after hitting their £250,000 target.

"To actually achieve it - and in three-and-a-half weeks - is unbelievable," he said.

The family have been told by Eva's consultant at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool that she is still eligible for treatment in the US, once she is in a position to travel.

"We might be able to get on another arm of the trial. So that gives us confidence that we have options," said Mr Slapa.

"The hope is that the treatment helps Eva and we can tell her how fantastic people were when we needed them."

Hugh Adams, head of stakeholder relations for Brain Tumour Research, said: "Coronavirus is having a huge impact on brain tumour patients and their families, with many having to self-isolate due to being immunosuppressed and treatments being postponed."

image source, Williams family
image captionEva having radiotherapy

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