A County Durham family faces a desperate struggle to keep their baby girl alive after being diagnosed with aggressive cancer.
At just four years old, Sophia Shaw has already battled brain cancer since the age of three.
But now she faces another battle after doctors discovered a lesion developing at the bottom of her spine – just four weeks after she was given the ‘all clear’.
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Now her parents, Tracy and Matt, of Carrville, are doing all they can to help their daughter have a long and happy life.
Matt, 39, said: “We try not to tell Sophia much about what’s going on because we don’t want to worry her or make her paranoid. We want her to live as normal a life as possible.”
He added: “She has such a unique personality and she is so caring.
“If she sees a leaf on the ground, she thinks she is sick or has lost her family and we have to pick it up and take care of it until we find other leaves to take care of it.
“She loves to dance too. Sometimes she takes a little fall, but she gets up and keeps going.”
Sophia’s cancer was discovered days after she returned from a family camping holiday in Wales in August 2020.
She had started complaining of a headache during the holidays, but soon after the family returned home, Sophia’s health deteriorated.
The usually bubbly little girl became numb and limp and Matt and Tracy rushed her straight to North Durham University Hospital, knowing something was seriously wrong.
Upon arrival, Sophia was treated for meningitis, but Matt says it became increasingly clear that something else was making her sick.
Doctors agreed to send Sophia for an MRI and soon discovered an aggressive tumor slightly smaller than a golf ball in Sophia’s cerebellum, located at the back of her brain.
The family were rushed to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle and within an hour were greeted by a team of medical staff who scheduled surgery for Sophia.
Matt said: “The risks and the numbers were coming out of the doctor’s mouth like air bubbles.
“There’s a 15% chance of it happening, a 25% chance of it happening, a 35% chance of it happening, and even a 10% chance of the ‘worst’ happening.
“It was the hardest day of our lives. The cliché is that we would have changed places in a nanosecond, ten times more.”
After a successful operation, Sophia was discharged from the hospital within a week.
In December, she attended a routine scan and within an hour was told the results appeared positive and Sophia’s scans were clear, which was a huge relief for the family.
Matt added: “We had a really great Christmas that year because at that point things were as positive as they could have been.”
But four weeks later they received an unexpected call from a consultant to say a ‘stain’ had been noticed on his spine.
Further analysis revealed that a lesion had developed at the bottom of Sophia’s spine.
He looked aggressive and since he was coming back so quickly, it was feared he might prove fatal.
Mum Tracy, 33, said: “Since Sophia was diagnosed our life has been a roller coaster, there have been so many ups and downs.
“The consultants seemed really pleased with the results of Sophia’s scan and said there was minimal damage.
“So when we got that call four weeks later to say something had been spotted on the scan, it was a complete shock, we weren’t expecting it at all.
“It was awful because we were expecting to hear the next steps to treat Sophia.
“But we were basically told that we’ve come to the end of the road now and there’s not much more to do.”
Doctors offered to treat Sophia with radiation therapy and surgery.
But after hours of research, Matt and Tracy decided to seek alternative therapies in hopes of giving their little girl the best childhood possible.
Matt said: “I’m ready to dedicate my life to giving Sophia the best possible chance.
“We spent hours researching different options. I sold my car and motorbike and her mum quit her job to be by her side while she was in hospital.”
The family, who are also caring for their newborn daughter Delilah who is due home from hospital this week, are currently fundraising to help fund high-dose vitamin C, which Sophia will receive intravenously each week.
She will also continue the weekly bio-resonance at the York Center, which uses a machine to measure the frequency of energetic wavelengths coming from the body.
These measurements are then used to diagnose disease and some say it can also cure certain diseases, although this has not been scientifically proven.
Matt added: “The bio-resonance has helped to reduce the inflammation in Sophia’s body and since receiving it she hasn’t been sick. Before the bio-resonance she was sick every morning and it really affected him.”
The family also plans to schedule dendritic cell therapy in Spain, the Netherlands or the UK after spring 2022, once they feel Sophia is strong enough and her immune system has been strengthened.
And finally, the family raises funds for an infrared sauna in which Sophia can sit with her mother for up to five minutes three times a week.
Matt added: “We’re ready to go all out. We’ve discovered that there are so many alternative therapies out there and who knows, we might discover a revolutionary new treatment along the way.”
To donate for Sophia’s treatment, visit “The Next Chapter of Sophia” fundraiser via this link.
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