People get sick all the time, and most of the time we just deal with it. But never tell that to parents of a young child.
David John and Charlotte Woods love their 4-year-old Lottie Woods-John.
Charlotte told So Share This that she had previously had a miscarriage which brought her spirits down, “so to have found David, and to be expecting a baby, it was just amazing.” Lottie was her mommy’s miracle baby and was born healthy. Lottie is the first child for the couple, and the youngest sister of teenagers, Georgia and Jack.
Then the family became sick.
Ofentimes, when one person in a crowded household falls sick, it creates a domino effect for the rest of the family members. That’s what happened to Charlotte’s family over the holidays.
Their oldest daughter, Georgia, got sick first.
“My brother Cliff texted me saying Georgia had a tummy bug,” Charlotte said.
“She was a teenager, so I thought she would just get over it. Then Jack got sick, too, so when we got back home, we thought it was inevitable we’d catch whatever they’d had. ”
Lottie soon started to get sick too. Her stomach began to swell, so her parents took her to the hospital.
It was more than just a stomach ache.
Unfortunately, when they got to the hospital, the doctors had devastating news for the family, explaining that it was not a bug or virus, but a huge tumor.
“As the sonographer was doing the ultrasound I saw a huge black thing,” Charlotte said.
“I looked at David, and he mouthed ‘what is that?’ and then the tears came streaming down my face. I felt like the loneliest woman in the world.”
The tumor was so big that it pushed Lottie’s lungs into her diaphragm, causing it to split open. The doctors diagnosed the little girl with rare childhood cancer, neuroblastoma.
Lottie’s illness made the parents feel guilty. “Everyone in the family was sick, so I just thought she had a tummy bug, and for that, I will never forgive myself.”
After getting diagnosed, Lottie’s immediately went to chemotherapy and endured a 12-and-a-half hour operation to remove 95 percent of the tumor. They could not get rid of all of the tumor because it was too close to her liver. Though a great percentage of the tumor was gone, there was an 80 percent chance that it could come back.
When there is a will, there is a way.
Help came in the form of a kind stranger who heard about Lottie’s story.
The family learned there was a vaccine that might prevent the cancer from returning, but it wasn’t exactly cheap or easy to obtain.
Iraq veteran and ex-Royal Marine, Matthew Goodwin was touched by Lottie’s story after reading about it, so he came up with the plan of selling his medals for the vaccine. He understood that Lottie’s cancer could come back, and that just broke his heart.
“As a father myself, I couldn’t imagine seeing my baby daughter, Freya, suffering like that and I knew I had to help in some way,” he said.
“My medals were just sitting in the drawer doing nothing, and I thought they could be used for something worthwhile.”
When he contacted Charlotte to tell her the generous news, she said she was speechless. “He risked his life for those medals and the fact that he’s not even met Lottie, but wants to help keep her alive is mind-blowing.”
“I can’t thank him enough.”
Matthew’s support did not stop at his medals. “Once they’re sold, in the place of my medals I’ll be wearing a childhood cancer awareness ribbon. “For me, nothing is worth a child’s life.”
Charlotte told So Share This that Lottie’s health is up and down, but she is not giving up on her daughter. Though the little girl’s health threw the family in a frenzy, Lottie’s courage helps the family.
“Lottie is such a brave girl, it’s infectious. She knows everyone is trying to make her better. She’s so upbeat, happy and smiley – throughout everything her spirit is high.” She added that “She’s such a loving and happy little girl.”
At the time of this article, Lottie’s donation page, “Team Lottie’s Appeal” has raised £75,234 of a goal of £155,000 to get her to the United States and get this vaccine.