Rare cancer leaves Washington girl unable to walk

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LITTLE Zara Fort has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer leaving her unable to walk.

The three-year-old was on holiday with her family in Palma Nova, in Majorca, when she first showed signs of illness.

After weeks of tests Zara, of Blackfell, in Washington, was diagnosed with a type of cancer called primitive neuroectodermal tumours, which primarily affects children and people under 25.

The cancer means that a tumour grows in the brain or, as in Zara’s case, the spinal cord, which has led to part of her cord being removed.

Brave Zara, who is little sister to Terry-Leigh, 15, Brett, 13, and Katie, seven, is now undergoing three weeks of chemotherapy, after which doctors will decide what course of action to take in her treatment.

Zara’s family and friends have been so touched by the youngster’s courage they have set about making her dreams come true.

Her mum Julie’s cousin, Paula Forster, is spearheading fund-raising efforts to buy Zara a Shetland Pony and send her on a magical holiday to Disneyland.

Paula, from Pennywell, said: “Like all little girls, Zara has dreams and we want to make them come true.

“They are very strong family but they are breaking their hearts and we just want to help.”

Paula is organising a Halloween Fancy dress party at Steels Social Club in Millfield on October 27.

“We just need people to donate anything really, prizes, food, money, whatever,” said Paula.

The party will have face painting, apple bobbing and raffles and local businesses have already jumped on board to help raise money with Switch Hair Salon, Leanne’s Bouncy Castle, Spar Tan and Steve O Disco’s donating their time or prizes for the raffles to help make Zara’s dream come true.

Tickets are £3 for adults and £2 for children. Contact Paula for tickets or to donate prizes on 07954 695471.

Primitive neuroectodermal tumours (PNET) form a group of tumours that are thought to develop from primitive nerve cells in the brain that have been left over after the development of a baby’s nerve system while in the womb.

Normally, these cells are harmless, but occasionally, they can develop into cancer.

Because the tumours are malignant, they tend to spread easily through the spinal fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord.

In some cases, the tumours may spread beyond the central nervous system.