Westlife and Jonathan Ross among Twitter celebrities helping cancer girl Niamh, five, raise £450,000
Internet savvy youngster: Niamh is using Twitter to raise cash
The parents of a five-year-old girl with inoperable cancer are using Twitter to raise £450,000 for treatment in the US.
Niamh Curry’s mum and dad have been told by doctors that she has a few months to live and her only hope is a drug trial at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Chris, 39, and Samantha, 36, came up with the idea of asking celebrities to publicise Niamh’s plight in tweets, and have raised £130,000 since the start of the year.
Star names including Jonathan Ross, Jessie J, Westlife, Michael Owen, Vernon Kay and Kevin Spacey have helped by re-posting their messages about Niamh on their own Twitter feeds or posting a comment with a link to a fundraising page.
Removal man Chris said: “We created a Twitter account called Niamh’s Next Step and started sending celebrities messages.
Race against time: Niamh with mum Samantha, dad Chris, and sister Hannah
“The first person to follow was Amy Childs from The Only Way is Essex. As soon as she retweeted a message, Niamh’s followers went from a hundred to a thousand.
“Then Matt Goss tweeted, and Jackie Collins. Every retweet from a celebrity is great. But if they send their fans a message to donate it can raise £1,500 in a few seconds. Now when Niamh looks at Twitter she asks, ‘Why’s it all about me?’”
Niamh, whose @Niamhs NextStep Twitter feed has 16,000 followers, has neuroblastoma.
She has had chemotherapy, an operation to remove a tumour on her adrenal gland, a stem-cell transplant and radiotherapy.
But in November 2011 doctors found the cancer had relapsed.
Celebrity backer: TV personality Jonathan Ross has taken to Twitter to support Niamh
There is no programme to treat her in the UK so the family, from Wellingborough, Northants, are pinning their hopes on experimental smart drugs in the US. Niamh, who has a sister, Hannah, seven, will have tests in Philadelphia to see if a genetic mutation has taken place.
She will then receive a cocktail of drugs specially designed for her.
The treatment could extend her life by decades.
A spokeswoman for the Neuroblastoma Alliance said: “Taking Niamh abroadfor help will dramatically increase her chances of long-term survival.”