Josephine's Cancer Treatment Fund

£39,009 of £88,000 goal

Raised by 475 people in 12 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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I'm fundraising for my niece, Josephine.

As written by Josephine's mother, Penny Watts (Seymour):
'One day our beautiful, healthy 20 month old daughter Josephine was tearing around, the next she started vomiting. Quite random vomiting in the morning only. Diagnosed first as nothing; then a possible bladder infection; more vomiting more regularly meant we did a scope and gastritis was then indicated. Finally, after four weeks of vomiting, back and forth between doctors, in and out of hospital we did an MRI of her brain. There it was. In the doctor’s words " a large aggressive tumour" in her posterior fossa. She had developed hydrocephalus as a result and the tumour was pushing her brain stem triggering her vomiting.

We spent the following month in Red Cross Children's Hospital after a 7 hour surgery, where the highly skilled team of Doctors had removed a tumour the size of a small orange - this was roughly 85% of it. The remainder was left due to the risks involved in taking it out as the tumour had enveloped critical neuro-vascular structures.

Slowly our Josephine has started to recover. Her gross motor skills have been affected and she has a palsy on the right side of her face - the latter of which may or may not improve with time. But by the Grace of God you get through one day at a time, and that is how you start to live and regroup. Because once you start to learn more about cancer and brain tumours and her specific diagnosis (Anaplastic ependymoma) you realise you are only a fraction of the way through. That the hospitals and the removal of the tumour is just the beginning. But through it all you slowly begin to cling onto hope - that our Josephine will be one of the lucky ones. Because there are lucky ones - you have to have faith.

 And there has been hope along the way: her most recent MRI revealed a stable residual with no new abnormalities and no spread to the spine. And so we begin our next step in our Journey: Radiation Therapy. The type of radiation that they offer here in South Africa (although highly advanced) still presents a risk of damage to surrounding healthy tissue which is exacerbated in such a young child's brain that is still growing. It has been possibly one of the most challenging parts of our journey so far: the fact that radiation will kill the remaining tumour and Josephine will be cured - but the doctors cannot say what the long term neurological fall out will be- 3 months; 3 years ; or possibly even as long as 13 years down the line. We needed another alternative. And so we began to look: Proton Therapy was a treatment that kept on appearing in our search.

 Proton Therapy is a type of radiation with the main benefit being that it does not damage the healthy surrounding tissue but is able to target and kill the tumour cells.  http://www.proton-therapy.org/facts.htm 
Unfortunately, this therapy is not available in South Africa but is increasingly being used as the treatment of choice in paediatrics overseas - especially brain tumours- due to its specific benefits. 

After much research we have been accepted for Proton Therapy at WPE in Essen Germany. The cost of the treatment alone is 84,000 Euro. We also have to factor in the accommodation; flights and living in Germany for 6-8 weeks during the treatment process which would total up to just below 100 000 Euro.

Any parent - anywhere in the world - would want to do the best treatment for their child, that would offer the best possible outcome for their future.   If you are able to help in any way, please make a donation to support the cost of Josephine’s treatment. Your contribution will help make her future be the brightest it can.' 

Thank you.
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Following Penny and Andrew's last update, we have decided to stop accepting donations to Josephine's Cancer Treatment Fund. They are deeply touched by the kindness shown by donors, friends and family who have played an active role in helping Josephine.

With great gratitude,

Katherine and the Seymour/Watts families
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To everyone who has supported our Josephine:

We posted an update on Josephine a month ago regarding her most recent surgery and since then she has been improving slowly. After spending two and a half weeks in hospital, Josephine is now recovering at home.

Unfortunately the tumour, which was static for three months, showed its true colours and had regrown aggressively within an eight-week span, following her initial post-surgery MRI to the second MRI (which was conducted in Germany as part of planning for Proton Therapy). The regrowth of the tumour changed everything for us. Although, her most recent surgery was successful in removing most of the regrowth, the advice from all of our Doctors (including those in Germany) is that the safest option for Josephine is to have Radiation therapy as soon as possible. The fact that she still cannot be cleared to fly for a few weeks, coupled with the delay we will have in Germany by re-planning (another 2 weeks), means we have been informed that the best course of treatment is for Josephine to receive Radiation therapy in Cape Town and that the benefits of Proton therapy cannot compensate further time delay.

Naturally, we have given this a lot of thought and it has been an emotional decision as we were very vested in Proton therapy, seeing it as the best course of action for our daughter. However, our goal posts have shifted completely, due to the aggressive regrowth.

We have been overwhelmed by the support and generosity people have shown us through GoFundMe, from friends and family members to people we have never met before.
Now that we are staying in SA for her treatment, most of Josephine's radiation costs will be covered by medical aid. However, it is unclear what other treatment will be necessary. For this reason, we would like to open a medical fund with the money donated to cover further costs not covered by medical aid (as well as the costs incurred when we went to Germany for the preliminary tests and MRI). As her treatment plan has had to change, we will reimburse anyone who feels their money can be better used elsewhere (please let us know via GoFundMe). We plan to donate any remaining funds to Red Cross Children’s Hospital which has demonstrated its dedication to offering exemplary care for Josephine and many other extremely ill children.

With our deepest gratitude,

The Seymour family
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We would like to say 'thank you' to all the donors who have amazed us with their support and generosity. You have all made a difference and the Seymour family is so grateful for your contribution to helping Josephine.

This week's special mention goes to a local Wapping Mother, Nereide Fox. Nereide allowed me to jointly lead two of her baby and toddler classes this week so I could fundraise for Josephine. Nereide donated the entire £120 raised from these events to Josephine's Treatment Fund. Thank you to Ned and all the lovely mothers and children who participated and donated generously!
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I'd like to mention two special mothers who live in my area...Jenna Mitchell and Flavia. Neither one of these women know Josephine nor her family but have shown profound sympathy, as parents and we are extremely grateful for their support.
Jenna, received second-hand clothing for her daughter. As form of payment for these items, she has made donations to Josephine's fund. She also sold baby items and asked buyers to pay by donating to the fund.
Flavia is a hairdresser and has been cutting children's hair in exchange for donations to Josephine's Treatment Fund.
These are just two examples of kind and inventive ways, people have found ways to help little Jo.
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£39,009 of £88,000 goal

Raised by 475 people in 12 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Zoe Malik-Kemp
10 months ago
Chloe Stirling
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Graham McGregor
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10 months ago
Kerry Seymour
10 months ago
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