A BRAVE girl who “wanted to go to the playroom” just five minutes after coming round from a major operation to remove a brain tumour is to fly abroad for pioneering treatment.

Four year old, Amelia Elphee, of Queensbury, was diagnosed in June with a cancer that only 29 other people in Europe are known to have.

After suffering a number of seizures, little Amelia had a MRI scan on June 22 which revealed she had an ultra-rare “neuroepithelial” brain tumour.

Having had the tumour successfully removed, Amelia will now fly to Essen, Germany to receive the unique proton beam therapy, which is a less damaging form of radiotherapy, as it can target a specific area with pinpoint accuracy without damaging surrounding areas.

This is important for young children as their brains are still growing and developing. 

Mother, Vicky Robinson, describes the moment her and Amelia’s father, Lewis, found out the news.

She said: “All of a sudden we were cornered by nurses and play workers who seemed to scoop Amelia one way, while her dad and I were whisked into a little room.

“Now this is the conversation I don’t remember other than being told ‘Amelia has a brain tumour’. Amelia’s dad burst in to tears while I still hadn’t processed what she had just told us.”

Whilst this was going on Amelia was driving around and around outside in a toy car, blissfully unaware that in less than a week’s time she would have to undergo a major operation to remove the tumour.

Mrs Robinson said: “As you can imagine, we were all hit hard. My son Lewis can be quite slow to process information. It took a while for the situation with his sister to really sink in.”

She added: “The truth is, no-one can give you the answer to the question we all asked - ‘Is she going to die?’ You just have to stay strong and keep believing.

“Thankfully Amelia continues to amaze us all with her bravery.”

On June 27, surgeons were able to remove the entire 2cm tumour from Amelia’s brain in a seven-hour operation.

Mrs Robinson said: “The fact the operation had been such a success was an unbelievable relief. Amelia was in a high dependency unit, a bandage around her head and hooked up to all these wires.

“But within five minutes of coming round from the anaesthetic, she said, ‘I want to go to the playroom.’ That was all she was bothered about! We took turns playing games with her for the rest of the evening.”

Two days later Amelia was back at home making another promising recovery.

The family are now preparing for a trip in the coming days that has been partly funded by the NHS.

They are eligible for support that covers travel, accommodation and treatment, but other costs such as meals, laundering, toiletries and comforts for Amelia whilst she’s over in Germany for nine weeks, are not covered.

Mrs Robinson said: “We also want to make this treatment as painless and as positive as we can for her, so we would like to be able to take her on outings whilst receiving treatment.”

A JustGiving page was set up in order to try meet some of these needs, with a target of £3,000.

This total has been far surpassed with £5,875 currently raised for the family.

The total was particularly helped by football-mad granddad Alan Riley’s appeal to fellow Leeds United fans who donated.

Mrs Robinson said: "We're obviously nervous about what happens next. It’s going to be horrible being away from home for so long. But we’re all hopeful we can put an end to this nightmare once and for all.”

The NHS will open its first ever proton beam cancer treatment centres in the next two years, but a leading European oncologist believes it will be a while before there’s widespread access in the U.K.

Dr Jiri Kubes, medical director at the Proton Therapy Center in Prague, said: "While the NHS acknowledges the benefits of Proton Beam Therapy, and is building its own centres, they will still only be able to treat a fraction of those who might benefit from it, while many people will be turned down for the treatment because of the very limited indication criteria.

“But the general public is becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of Proton Beam Therapy.

 “It’s highly effective in treating tumours in extremely sensitive areas of the human body and it has also been proved that proton therapy reduces the risk of secondary cancers by more than half, compared with traditional radiotherapy.”

You can help support Amelia and her family at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ameliaelphee

You can also read more about her story at: https://ameliasplayroom.wordpress.com/