Family to sell house to fund treatment

A SUFFOLK family have put their house up for sale to help pay for their teenage daughter's pioneering treatment for a rare hereditary disease.Katie Newell, 14, suffers from NF1, a condition which triggers tumours to grow throughout her body.

A SUFFOLK family have put their house up for sale to help pay for their teenage daughter's pioneering treatment for a rare hereditary disease.

Katie Newell, 14, suffers from NF1, a condition which triggers tumours to grow throughout her body.

She inherited the disease from her mother Vanessa, who is now preparing to sell the family home in Denham near Bury St Edmunds in a bid to extend her daughter's life.

The brave teenager is currently fighting a growth which is threatening to crush her lung as it grows as fast as she does.


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However, doctors in Chicago have thrown the Suffolk girl a lifeline and her mother is determined to take it whatever the cost.

Her last operation at the children's hospital to remove growths from her spine took 14 hours and cost $80,000.

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Mrs Croft said: “The doctors have said they can help - it is not a cure but it buys us more time until we can find an answer.

“This will be Katie's eighth operation - she had her first one when she was only 16 months old. Doctors said she would only live until she was five but she has proved them all wrong.

“Every doctor has commented on how strong and positive she has been. I've found it hard and it has been a struggle, but Katie only rarely complains and she has supported us more than the other way round.

“She would love to be a nurse or work with animals and we want her to be able to do those things.”

Mrs Croft is still waiting for the final word from the doctors in Chicago on how much the operation is going to cost and she is hoping to raise some of the money needed through donations.

The concerned mother-of-four has also been in touch with actress Gillian Anderson's mother, Rosemary.

Ms Anderson, who shot to fame in the hit Sci-fi series The X Files, has a brother who suffers from NF1 and the mothers have swapped messages of support over the internet.

Mrs Croft said the disease is one of the most common hereditary conditions but it is little known despite one in every 25,000 people being a sufferer.

In most instances the tumours, which are benign, don't cause any significant problems. However, in Katie's case they have caused problems with their rapid growth.

In her most recent operation doctors found her spine, which was being attacked by the tumours, was also being supported by them.

They had grown so numerously and densely it had stopped the spine from collapsing but they had to be removed because they were pressing on her spinal cord.

If you would like to help Katie get the operation she needs you can contact Mrs Croft via email vanessajanecroft@yahoo.co.uk

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