Please note this site is currently being updated

how to donate

About Stella

For Stella

About Stella

STELLA’S STORY
At just 17 months Stella Rogers was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer known as Neuroblastoma MYC-N amplified (high risk). The tumour had originated in her adrenal gland and had grown to a large size. Her initial Neuroblastoma treatment involved aggressive chemotherapy, major surgery to remove the tumour, a stem cell harvest and transplant, three weeks of radiotherapy, and six months of oral chemotherapy at the Royal Marsden Hospital, Sutton.

To give Stella the best chance of survival, parents John and Allison pursued further treatment in the US which needed to commence no later than 100 days after her stem cell transplant. Quoted at £250,000, the Rogers family began frantically fundraising alongside the Neuroblastoma Alliance to get the funds needed for Stella’s treatment. In February of 2010, Stella went to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) for ch14.18 antibody treatment combined with cytokines (GMCSF and IL2).

TREATMENT IN THE USA
After arriving in Philadelphia, Stella underwent a range of testing including x-rays, scans, and bone marrow biopsies where results found her original site and bone marrow clear of cancer. With daily injections of the immune system boosting drug GM-CSF being administered by mum Allison, Stella had her first round of antibodies. With the first round of antibodies, Stella experienced the side effects common in the treatment – pain, dropping blood pressure, hives, vomiting, fevers, and the swelling of her limbs and face. Stella’s second round of antibodies was combined with medication that began to alter her mood and behaviour.

Throughout her treatment, tests continued to show that Stella had no visible signs of cancer present in her body. Returning to the UK for a few weeks of respite from her intensive treatment, Stella was able to remove her feeding tube and began to eat. Despite having to re-learn a lot of her motor skills after months of hospital treatment, Stella began to show signs of improvement.

In August of 2010, Stella’s test results showed that she was in remission and she had surgery to remove the Hickman line in her chest which had been present for the 14 months of her treatment. The final bill for Stella’s treatment was £215,000 – £35,000 less than the original quote mainly because Stella defied all odds and did require did not require any intensive care.

Stella now has regular scans and tests to check that she remains in remission.

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
Since returning to the U.K. in August 2010 Stella has re-started the process of growing up. She is extremely proud of her new blonde curly hair and loves going to nursery school to play with her friends. Her personality is slowly revealing itself to be one of resilience and quiet determination. She loves to make others laugh and is always ready to care for any injured friend, doll, animal or insect with her ever present doctor’s kit! She often talks about America and does seem to understand that lots of kind people helped to get her medicine.

“When I was a little baby I had a tumour in my tummy but I haven’t got one now. Look I have got a line (points to scar across her tummy). When we lived in America I was very brave getting my medicine in the hospital. I still have to have sharp tubes in my hand sometimes though, and I only cry a bit” – Stella aged 3yrs

To read more about the Stella’s time in the US please read the Updates from Stella’s Mum in the Archive section.