Half a MILLION raised in just 33 days for life-saving treatment for Corby's Florence Bark

Florence Bark’s team have hit the target they set just a month ago

Locals have raised more than £500,000 for Florence Bark
Locals have raised more than £500,000 for Florence Bark

The appeal to help fund life-saving treatment for a little girl from Corby who has leukemia has hit its massive target in just 33 days.

The communities of Corby and surrounding towns have pulled together to raise the £500k goal set by Florence Bark’s family after they discovered their girl might need treatment that is not available on the NHS.

After putting out an appeal, fundraising efforts immediately swung into action and last night the half-a-million pound total was hit.

Florence’s #bemorefab fundraising team said: “We are absolutely lost for words. In just 33 days our amazing community has raised 500k for Florence & the Bark family

“We knew that the town would pull together but we cannot believe that so much money has been raised in such a short amount of time.

“We want to thank each and every person who has donated, planned events, attended events, donated raffle prizes & signed up to become donors!”

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Oakley Vale Primary pupil Florence, six, has acute myeloid leukemia and chemotherapy has so far been unsuccessful in beating her cancer. Her rare genetic makeup means that there is no bone marrow donor match on the existing register so medics will now use an umbilical cord for the transplant instead. The chances of it curing Florence are not high, so it means she may need to seek costly treatment abroad.

Updating supporters on social media earlier this week, dad Andy – headteacher at Kingswood Primary in Corby – said: “As it stands, she is due to go for her bone marrow transplant at the beginning of August, this will be in Sheffield.

“We are so grateful for the thousands of people who have registered to become bone marrow donors in recent weeks in the hope of becoming a match for Florence, the spike in people registering has been incredible and this will surely go on to help save many lives. So we implore everyone to continue registering and spreading the word about how simple a process this is!

“Under normal circumstances Florence's transplant would take place using a normal bone marrow donor, which is what we had expected. However, the rounds of chemotherapy that Florence has had haven't cleared enough of the cancer in her blood which means that a normal bone marrow donor would have an even slimmer chance of being successful.

“They would normally like a child to undergo a bone marrow transplant with there essentially being no cancer left in her bone marrow, but because there is cancer left they have said that they will use an umbilical cord for the transplant instead. Even after the amazing spike in bone marrow donors, there was no 'normal' match for Florence but they do have an umbilical cord that is a mismatch. Using an umbilical cord for transplant comes with significantly more risks (which is why it isn't the standard choice) but we are told it is definitely the best option for Florence at this point in time.

“She may need a more standard bone marrow transplant at some point after though so we are still desperate to find her a true match incase she does need this (so as we said.. please register if you can and haven't already)

“Because of Florence's genetic mutations we know that the chances of the transplant being successful are not great, however we remain hopeful and positive that this will be the cure she needs. The treatment will mean another long, gruelling, continued period of time in hospital and Florence will be at serious risk throughout the treatment but the team at Sheffield seem to be amazing and we know how hard she is already fighting."

Andy added that the money is being raised as a ‘precaution’ because there is no certainty that it will be needed.

He said: “The money is being raised for treatment options that aren't available on the NHS if her transplant fails (which we have been told is very likely to be the case).

"If it does fail then we expect her best treatment option to still be CAR T cell therapy but we will not know this until after her transplant. Different markers in her blood after the transplant will determine what treatment options she has available to her, so the money is to ensure that we are prepared for any eventuality but we cannot plan a specific treatment until far closer to the time that she needs it.”

Because the type of treatment Florence will need is uncertain, the fundraising pages will remain open. Many people still have events planned for the summer to raise money for Florence.

If the money is not needed it will remain in the bank until the chances of relapse are gone or may be used to fund her ongoing medical needs.

If it is still not spent then it will be given to another family in need to research AML.

Andy added: “We are so grateful for every penny that has been donated and there is no expectation for anyone to donate a penny more but our fundraising pages will remain open even after the target is reached because there is a good chance we may need more.

“No donation is ever wasted, every penny will be doing something amazing.”

You can sign up to join the bone marrow register here.