An extraordinary effort from people across the country has raised almost £55,000 towards life-saving treatment for a five-year-old girl.
The Niamh’s Next Step appeal was launched just over three weeks ago, with the aim of raising £450,000 to treat brave Niamh Curry’s aggressive neuroblastoma cancer.
Niamh’s parents Chris and Samantha want to take her to America for advanced treatment and have been blown away by the support they’ve received.
Mr Curry, 39, of Troon Crescent, Wellingborough, said: “It’s fantastic to have reached £55,000 in just over three weeks.
“I don’t think we would have a chance of reaching our target if it wasn’t for Twitter and Facebook.
“Over Christmas and New Year we tried to get as many followers as possible and we’ve now got more than 12,000 on Twitter.
“With the mountain of support we’ve got we’re pretty confident we’ll do it.”
The total raised for Niamh last night stood at £54,936.14.
And her plight has gone global, with celebrities following @niamhsnextstep on Twitter and tweeting their support.
Last week chart-topper Jessie J retweeted a message of support to almost two million followers and, at the weekend, after being given football boots for free by Nike, the Preston North End squad donated the money they would have spent to the appeal.
Niamh’s page on Facebook also has almost 1,000 friends.
Mr Curry said: “We’ve got some amazing people supporting us – Jason Manford donated £1,000 and Jonathan Ross is getting involved too.
“Niamh loves Strictly Come Dancing and in November we went to the studios and met all the dancers and celebrities.
“Tess Daly really took to her as she has two girls the same age as mine – she’s kept in touch ever since and has agreed to do a presentation at a charity golf day we’re organising in May.
“A young boxer who is taking part in Prizefighter on Sky Sports is going to come out live wearing a Niamh T-shirt and Billy Joe Saunders is fighting at Wembley in March and is dedicating the whole thing to Niamh’s Next Step.”
Niamh, who goes to Little Harrowden Primary School, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma just before Christmas 2010.
She has had surgery to remove a tumour on her kidney, several rounds of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and stem cell treatment.
Doctors told the family they could continue treatment but that there was no chance of a cure.
But the family are hoping to take Niamh to Philadelphia, where she will receive antibody treatment.
She is travelling to Oxford every day this week for a new type of intensive chemotherapy which the family hopes will help in the short term.