When 4-year-old Pippa Cole was only one, doctors found a tumor in her brain that was 4 cm in size. Since then, she has been battling terminal brain, spine and spinal fluid cancer. Today – little Pippa is cancer free and the 12 malignant tumors found in her brain and spinal cord are now gone.
Her mother Shell, 35, and father Scott, 37, first noticed that something is not right with Pippa in July 2013 after vomiting repeatedly for nine days straight. On the ninth day, they have noticed the blood in her vomit and rushed her to the hospital.
Doctors did a CT scan and found a tumor in her brain. After that she was taken by the ambulance to Children’s Hospital in Manchester for further tests.
Doctors performed the surgery a few days later and successfully removed the tumor. After a year of on-going chemotherapy, Pippa was diagnosed all-clear from the cancerous tumor in August 2014.
However, things took a change in events in January 2015 when she and her parents went in for a check up scan and discovered another tumor in her brain. The doctors had to perform another surgery.
About 48 hours after the procedure, another scan revealed that new tumor has grown in the same place.
One month later, she had a third operation which removed the tumor, but just 48 hours after that one, the doctors sadly discovered three more tumors that were growing once again in her brain and spine.
Consequently, her parents had no other choice but to take her through extensive chemotherapy.
By the end of 2015 there was another 5 cm tumor that appeared among the others and remained the same size. The doctors performed another surgery and told her parents that there is not much hope for little Pippa and that she is terminally ill. She had 4 surgeries and 12 tumors – 6 in the brain, 6 in the spine.
She was only 3 years old and her parents were struck with sad fact that Pippa has just few more weeks left to live due to such an aggressive disease and at such a young age too.
Shell even had to quit her job teaching at a primary school so she can take care of Pippa full-time.
“We spent most of last year going back and forth for surgery and treatment, she had her fourth operation in December but by this point her cancer was so aggressive they were growing daily. Her prognosis awful, she had a few weeks without treatment and perhaps a few months if she had radiotherapy. We decided to give her a chance at having more time but after 20 rounds of radiotherapy we had to stop, she was only two rounds off completing but it was restricting her breathing.” Shell said.
“Being told Pippa was terminal and had just weeks to live was heart breaking, it was the worst possible news. After all the surgery and chemotherapy, it seemed incredibly unfair that we were going to lose her.” Shell added.
Therefore, the couple wanted to make her last weeks of life as active and adventurous as possible. They wanted to make every moment of their time together special and amazing.
Pippa was always nagging Shell and Scott to get married and wanted to be their flower girl so they decided to make it a dream come true.
“Our wedding day was more about Pippa than me and Scott but we wouldn’t change it for the world.” Shell said.
They also took Pippa to Disneyland in Paris and she got to see Mickey Mouse and other characters from Disney which made her so happy. She smiled a lot that day.
“Visiting Disneyland in Paris last year and Walt Disney World this year was magical for Pippa.”
“We took as many photos as we could, never knowing if it would be her last one. Every day she woke up alive felt like another blessing as we couldn’t waste it by not doing fun things.” Shell said.
Every day they could spend with their little girl was a blessing for them knowing that her time was winding down.
However, a miracle happened in February 2016. when the scan has showed that her tumors didn’t grow any further which gave Pippa’s parents a bit of ease and hope that things might go into a good direction.
By August 2016, doctors were stunned by discovering that the tumors were completely gone from Pippa’s body.
“By July, we felt so lucky she had lived past doctors expectations and her scans in 2016 had been stable. Nothing could have prepared us for the news that all Pippa’s cancerous tumors had disappeared.” an ecstatic Shell said.
Doctors believe that Pippa is a walking miracle and that her tumors were already broken down by the radiotherapy she had in December, but it took months for the therapy to start working properly.
‘We are still on cloud nine, it was only a few weeks ago and it still doesn’t feel real. It feels incredible to not have the constant worry of time running out with Pippa and we’re enjoying every minute of it.” Shell said.
”Pippa will face some problems as she grows because of the radiotherapy on her spine but we cannot believe she has just started school like other children her age.” Shell said.
We are happy for little Pippa and we wish her a long healthy life!