A schoolgirl who is living with a brain tumour has launched a Christmas appeal to help find a cure for the disease.
Determined Katie Milliken is hoping to raise £5,000 for the Brain Tumour Research charity by sharing her story of hope over the festive period.
Just a toddler when her devastated family were told she had an inoperable brain tumour, Katie is now 11 and has endured years of operations, chemotherapy and other invasive treatments, as well as countless hospital visits. Just recently she suffered a major seizure but, despite this setback, she is looking forward to Christmas at home in Clarkstown, East Renfrewshire, with sister Charlotte, aged eight, and parents Louise and Ken.
Photo: Charlotte (right), Katie & Louise Milliken after London Marathon 2018
Louise said: “Katie has continued to amaze us all with her courage and positive outlook. She’s a real chatterbox and thinks nothing of standing up in a room full of strangers and telling them about her disease. She’s so outgoing and manages to win everyone over with her personality.”
Sadly, the future for Katie is far from clear. Her tumour, a low-grade juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma, is deep in the middle of her brain which makes it inoperable. The treatments have left Katie with irreversible changes such as poor co-ordination and balance, she can no longer run properly and has had to learn to write with her left hand. Yet, while her life is far from that of a typical 11-year-old, Katie still manages to attend school almost full-time and her chatty nature rubs off on all who get to know her.
“I would do anything I could to make my daughter better but the sad truth is that there is no cure. Our only hope is that there will be a breakthrough in research which will lead to better treatments and, ultimately, a cure,” said Louise.
“Life is so fragile and it is just tragic to think that we are not alone – 16,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour each year and the disease kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.”
Joe Woollcott, community fundraising manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are so grateful to Katie for helping to launch our Christmas fundraising appeal in Scotland. Katie is such a wonderful little girl and you can’t help but be touched by her warm personality. I really hope that people will get behind her and give what they can this Christmas time. Together we will find a cure.”
To make a donation to Katie’s appeal please go to https://www.braintumourresearch.org/our-christmas-wish/katie-milliken.
Photo: Katie Milliken (right) with sister Charlotte