Ex-Wolves star Matt Murray backs campaign to help two-year-old with rare form of cancer
A fundraising push has been launched by the family of a young girl who has been fighting a rare form of cancer for 15 months.
Isla Austin was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma on her first birthday – and now her family are looking to raise more than £150,000 to fund experimental treatment in America.
Former Wolves goalkeeper Matt Murray, who is a family friend, has today backed their appeal and urged others to do the same.
Isla has undergone numerous gruelling procedures since her diagnosis, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, a stem cell transplant, a seven and a half hour surgery and immunotherapy. But that has not knocked the two-year-old’s appetite for life.
Isla who has a twin sister Lottie and older brother Finn, four, continues to smile despite her treatment.
Her mother Anna, 37, who went to Dormston School in Sedgley, has had to quit her job to help look after Isla who has regular trips to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Anna has paid tribute to her battling daughter’s resilience and thanked everyone who has donated to the fundraising push – which has already raised more than £25,000 in four days.
The family needs to top £155,000 by the end of February for the treatment in New York.
Anna, who now lives in St Albans with her children and husband Rick, said: “Isla is absolutely amazing and she’s our inspiration – she is so courageous, so brave.
“At every step of the way she’s embraced this and done exactly what the consultants have asked for.
“She still smiles and giggles when she’s in hospital even though she has gone through such a tough time. The donations are overwhelming and very humbling.
“We’re a bit astonished really and truly grateful to everybody and want to thank everyone for their support.” While Isla is currently in remission from cancer, youngsters with neuroblastoma – the same disease which young Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery suffered from – have a 50 per cent chance of a relapse, and relapsed neuroblastoma has a less than one in 10 chance of survival.
Murray, 36, lodged with Anna’s aunt and uncle Jan and Peter Morris from 1997 to 2003 in Penn, during his early career with Wolves. He said: “They’re all amazing, a really close knit family. Isla is such a happy little girl, always smiling and she’s a fighter. Wolves fans are fantastic people, we’ve all seen what they’ve done to help Carl Ikeme.”
To donate visit justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/solvingkidscancer/islaaustin