A teenager with a rare tumour on her spine will hopefully be classed as in remission soon, following cutting-edge treatment in the US.
In July, the Gazette reported how Niamh Yates, along with dad Paul, mum Julie and brother Conor, were heading to Florida so that she could undergo Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) for an undifferentiated sarcoma on the base of her spine.
And the trip was well worth the effort, having a very positive effect on Niamh, who recently turned 13 as well as returning to school for the first time in 10 months.
Julie, who was born in Alnwick but lives in Edinburgh, said: “America was a very positive experience for us all despite Niamh having to undergo 36 gruelling proton beam therapy treatments.
“She gained colour in her cheeks and a glow from the sunny weather which was a real transformation from the chemo pallor we’d been used to.
“Paul and I couldn’t be happier with how the treatment went out there, the care, support and attention we received was amazing. Everything went according to plan – Niamh more or less sailed through the PBT.”
While in the States, Niamh achieved her dream of swimming with dolphins, while the family also visited Disney and Universal Studios in Orlando, Washington DC on Labour Day and New York on the way home.
But Niamh’s treatment was the trip’s focus.
“It is fairly early days so far since treatment ended but we have been told that Niamh will hopefully be classed as in remission after an MRI scan at the end of October,” said Julie. “Our consultant is very positive and hopeful about that. All we would like for Christmas is to hear those words. She had to go through so many radiotherapy sessions, and, even though she stayed positive throughout, it did take its toll near the end.
“Niamh has been so strong throughout this whole process – she’s an inspiration to all of us. She’s doing well but it’s not all plain sailing physically and emotionally she still has a way to go. We still take life as it comes, day by day because that works for us – not thinking to far ahead.”