Brave Leah Powell's cancer fight goes to the U.S.
BRAVE schoolgirl Leah Powell is to fly to America for pioneering cancer treatment.
The 12-year-old is to undergo Proton Beam Therapy, which is not yet available in the UK.
The youngster, of Nab Hill Avenue, Leek, was diagnosed with a rare form of tissue cancer in June.
She has undergone regular sessions of chemotherapy to reduce the size of a tumour in her right arm.
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Surgeons have successfully removed 98 per cent of a tumour which was wrapped around arteries during an operation at Manchester Children's Hospital last week.
But her hopes for a full recovery rest with the eight-week course of treatment in Oaklahoma.
Leah said: "I am looking forward to the trip because I get to have the treatment and hopefully it will help me get better.
"I am not going to be in the hospital all the time so I will get to spend time with my family and that will be nice."
The St Edward's Junior High School pupil will fly to America early next week with her mother Jane, 22-year-old sister Danielle and baby brother Marek.
Leah's treatment and the family's flights accommodation and car hire are being paid for by the NHS.
She had been due to fly today but had to be delayed in order to allow her to recover from the operation.
Leah added: "I am feeling quite positive because after talking to other people in the hospital I realised I am not the only one.
"Knowing that has made me feel a lot stronger about what is ahead of me."
Leah's mum Jane had just celebrated the birth of her first son in March when her daughter was diagnosed with axillary chest wall alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.
The 41-year-old, who owns Over the Rainbow toy shop in Derby Street, Leek, said: "It was very difficult at first but after being on the ward with all the other children it gives you the inner strength to carry on.
"We have met some fantastic people during our time in hospital and because you are in similar circumstances you can help each other.
"Leah has been fantastic and is doing really well.
"She can have her down days but she has been so brave during the whole illness."
The specialist treatment she will receive in America is a precise form of radiotherapy that uses charged particles instead of X-rays.
It is not yet available in the UK but it has been sanctioned for use at the University College Hospital in London and Christies Hospital Manchester from 2017.
Jane said: "This type of treatment is better in the long term and has less side effects.
"There was a strict criteria that Leah had to pass before being allowed to receive the treatment.
"We are just looking forward to getting on with it."
Leah expects to be back at home in Leek for Christmas at the latest.
Her grandad Lennox Adams, aged 76, from Brown Lees said: "She is always so positive and I really admire her fighting spirit.
"It will be a nervous wait to hear how she gets on but I just want these weeks to fly by so the whole family can be together for Christmas."
As a thank you, family and friends have raised £4,000 money for ward 84 at Manchester's Children's Hospital.