'Help make Arabella's last wishes come true' - family's plea as six-year-old with cancer starts palliative care
PUBLISHED: 13:08 05 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:09 05 July 2019
It was the moment everyone who knows six-year-old "little fighter" Arabella Scannell and how bravely she has battled cancer hoped would never come.
But now after being given the most dreadful news imaginable that their beloved daughter will need to start palliative care due to her aggressive cancer, her parents are focused on just one thing - making her last wishes come true.
And Ipswich has rallied round to support a little girl was touched their hearts with courage and bravery, raising more than £17,000 in less than 24 hours.
The youngster's life changed forever one afternoon when her mother Ellie was told by doctors to collect her from St Joseph's College urgently, because they had discovered she had leukaemia.
MORE: 'She's a little fighter!' How brave little Arabella fought back against deadly leukaemia
The next year was dominated by gruelling rounds of exhausting chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.
Yet despite everything, the most positive person was Arabella herself - becoming a source of inspiration across her home town for the courage she showed as she made a miraculous recovery.
But in one of the cruellest blows imaginable, the Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) Arabella had fought so hard to beat returned - with her family pinning their hopes for recovery on a clinical trial at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Now Arabella's mother, Ellie Scannell, has revealed that "our biggest fear was confirmed" when they were told the clinical trial was no longer an option and that therefore Arabella would start palliative care.
"Everyone was just totally devastated and heartbroken," Mrs Scannell said.
"For our immediate family, we were in shock that this disease was so aggressive and that there's no treatment.
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"Our children can't understand that - that's what they're finding hard to come to terms with."
But characteristic of the way the family have dealt with the hardest of circumstances, they told friends: "Our main priority now is to make Arabella's future pain free and as fun as possible."
They have started a crowdfunding page with the plea "help make Arabella's last wishes come true", with a visit to Disneyland Paris and a trip to an aquarium among items on her bucket list.
In a demonstration of just how much Arabella has touched the hearts of people in Ipswich, the page has raised more than £17,000 in less than 24 hours.
On the page, her family wrote: "We are hoping for enough time and energy to be able to make some precious family memories and have therefore set up this just giving page to enable people to contribute and support Arabella and our family over the coming weeks."
And Mrs Scannell said: "If we've got this summer, at least we can do some crazy good things with her and make some memories along the way.
"She really wants to go and see Disney princesses. If we can't, we will be bringing the princesses to Arabella.
"For friends and family, they just want to support us in any which way they can.
"There's not much people can actually do - it's all out of our control.
"Lots of our friends are relating it to their own family and how they would feel if it was them. They think: 'How can this be?' There is disbelief that a normal, functioning family has had to deal with this."
She added that Arabella, who has been receiving treatment at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge but is currently in Ipswich Hospital, is keen to get home and spend time with her her mother, dad Mark, 41, and brothers Bailey, 15, and Taylor, 10, and her adoptive sister Zoe, eight.
■ To donate to Arabella's fundraising page, click here.