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Florence Jackson £250,000 appeal cash raised to send her to US for operation

A family are today celebrating a miracle after thousands of well-wishers donated to send their poorly two-year-old to the States for life-saving treatment.

It took just 11 days to raise the £250,000 needed to help Speldhurst toddler Florence Jackson.

At 10.30am today the appeal stood at £255,091.

Florence Jackson
Florence Jackson

It saw a sudden last push, with thousands of pounds of donations coming through in the last few hours.

It's thought one donor might have given a large donation which caused the target to be reached.

Her parents were in a race against time to gather the money needed.

In a message posted on Twitter the family said: “We really don’t know what to say!

“We cannot believe we have reached our target in less than two weeks and really never imagined it would happen so quickly. It’s overwhelming.

“Words can’t describe how incredibly grateful we are that our beautiful Flo now has the ability to get the medical attention she needs to give her a chance to live.

“This message is for every single person who has donated, is doing fundraising events, has shared Flo’s story on social media, spread the word with people they meet and just shown such incredible love, support and generosity – THANK YOU!!

“This now enables us to engage further with the surgeon in New York and once we have the latest CT scan results which are due on February 10 and after Flo’s third cycle of chemotherapy, he will review Flo’s condition.

“We will of course keep you informed every step of the way.

“As we were unable to engage with the specialists until we had the funds in place, your amazing support has us one step closer to having the surgery Flo desperately needs.

“There of course may well be additional costs on top of this such as flights, insurance, accommodation and future preventative treatments.

“Any surplus funds, would of course be used in supporting similar good causes. Therefore, we have one further request... let’s keep going!

Shortly after the appeal was launched, Flo's father Rodney Jackson spoke to KentOnline about the family's fight.

He said: "Back in November 2015 we took Flo to A&E because we noticed she really wasn't going to the toilet, she was constipated.

"My wife was there virtually all day and it was established that there was a mass in her abdomen through an ultrasound scan.

"We then went onto the Sutton Royal Marsden hospital for tests and other scans. She was diagnosed on December 2, 2015 with stage 4 neuroblastoma, which is the worst stage to have unfortunately.

"Florence had ten rounds of chemotherapy, then surgery which removed 80% of the tumour.

"They were hoping then that the heavy dose of chemo and the radiotherapy would then mop up and kill the rest of the tumour that was there.

"All things going to plan, we had a great summer and she was really well but a routine scan in November, when we were going through immunotherapy, unfortunately showed that the tumour had started re-growing which was devastating.

"We sort of picked ourselves up and started chemo again but over Christmas we noticed some blood in her stomach.

"(Days) ago we found out through another scan that the tumour is impacting her stomach and causing it to bleed internally a bit.

Florence Jackson passed away, aged two
Florence Jackson passed away, aged two

"They are using drugs to try and clot the blood so it's not as bad. Because she improved last week we started a different chemo to try and reduce the tumour, to then have it removed. It is an uphill struggle.

"(Then) we were told that there was nothing they could do and we were going to have to watch her finish the rest of her life and let the cancer take over.

"But I'm glad to say that she did improve.

"We are just hoping and praying that this round of chemo will do its job to shrink the tumour so it can then be removed.

"But we heard very good stories about this surgeon in America - Dr Michael. P. La Quaglia - who can perform surgery that can't be dealt with here. But we have got to see the tumour reduced before that surgery can take place."

Florence Jackson with her sister Charlotte
Florence Jackson with her sister Charlotte

Yesterday, Flo's father updated on the JustGiving page on the state of Flo's health.

He said: "I'm glad to say Flo is a little better today. Still very grumpy but she has a lot going on bless her.

"She had a lie in till 11am which is unheard of.

"We are all hoping this is the chemo shrinking this swine of a tumor. Fingers crossed. I have again spent most of my day pushing Flo around the ward.

"I am having a break at the moment with one of the play specialists doing the pushing for me. Thanks again for all your support. It is mind blowing how generous all of you have been."

More than 8,400 friends, family and complete strangers have so far donated in a bid to help the tot.

Commenting on their generosity, Mr Jackson said: "It's humbling to see how many want to help, it has taken our minds off what's going on to a certain extent.

"It has been a huge help. So many friends, family and complete strangers are rallying around to help us and help little Flo out, it is amazing.

"Despite everything, Flo is still fighting on.

"We just want to say thank you to everyone that has helped. It is just amazing what everyone is doing for us."

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