Claudia Burkill, 8, was given hours to live after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in 2011 but has become the first person to beat the rare disease.
A girl of eight who was told she would die from a rare cancer has become the first in the world to beat the disease.
Claudia Burkill was diagnosed with Metastatic PineoBlastoma – an inoperable brain tumour – in June 2011.
On four separate occasions her family was told she had days – in some cases hours – to live and had even begun to make preparations for her funeral.
But incredibly the youngster has defied all the odds to make a miraculous recovery – and get the all-clear.
Following an experimental Italian treatment called The Milan Protocol involving 44 sessions of radiotherapy and some of the highest doses of chemotherapy ever administered to a child, doctors have dramatically reversed their prognosis.
Her family received the amazing news in a phone call on Saturday night – exactly three years after mum Andrea first called NHS Direct worried about Claudia’s health.
They have since raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the children’s brain tumour research centre at the University of Nottingham.
The family announced the news on the Facebook page they have used to help raise vital cash for research.
Delighted mum 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 Facebook post has since been liked by more than 165,000 people.
Doctors only see three or four cases a year of the condition for which there is still no known cure.
Claudia first became ill after a family holiday aged just five and was first diagnosed with a squint.
But after being taken to a different hospital, doctors spotted the aggressive tumour in the centre of her brain.
At one point Claudia was given weeks to live and Andrea and dad David had to consider planning her funeral.
Although she has suffered some brain damage from the treatment, her family are positive that her health will continue to improve.
Andrea said: “We had lived with a terminal diagnosis with death believed to be imminent for a crazy 694 days.
“Today is the very first day in a very long time that I can look into the eyes of our four stunning children and ‘know’ that I don’t have to plan the funeral of one of them in the very near future.
“Today is our first day of freedom, a freedom so far lost and forgotten.
“The mere joy of being alive today far surpasses any other single day in my live so far.
“There are no signs of any tumour, any leptomeningeal spread or any recurrent disease, anywhere.
“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.
“She has paid a high price, we all have, however, she does have her life and we are dedicated to making the very best that it can be for her.
“A life where she can experience love, joy and happiness in abundance and be cherished always.”
Claudia was told of her incredible recovery from terminal cancer by her young sisters, her mum Andrea said.
Sisters Abigail and Esme explained to Claudia that she had beaten the disease at their home in Market Rasen, Lincs, on Saturday.
All three girls held hands as they broke the news, and brave Claudia smiled and replied with the word “yay”.
Consultant Paediatric Oncologist Dr Sophie Wilne said: “This is a very difficult brain tumour to treat so I am delighted that three years later Claudia has beaten the odds.
“Her latest MRI scan shows no evidence of tumour which is excellent news.
“All of us who have looked after Claudia and her family at Nottingham Children’s hospital are really pleased and wish her and her family the best for the future.”