A schoolgirl from Waterfoot has been diagnosed with cancer after she went to the doctors thinking she had asthma.
On September 7, Isla Flockhart, 11, was diagnosed with leukaemia, the same day she started high school, after her mum Kelly Flockhart received the shattering news in a phone call from the doctor.
Isla's family have set up a fundraiser to help ease the financial burden and to raise awareness about the signs of cancer and challenges faced by families in similar situations.
Kelly said: "The doctor at Waterfoot Medical Practice rang on Thursday with the results and said the results suggest Isla has leukemia.
"Within hours we were at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital so it happened so fast."
Isla, who has always been a sporty person and played netball and did running and gymnastics, experienced symptoms which had initially been mistaken for common childhood ailments.
Kelly explained: "Isla kept getting temperatures, an upset stomach, looking pale, and she wasn’t eating much and was losing weight.
"We just thought it was her age because she was starting high school as well.
“She was also part of Rossendale Harriers running club and she kept saying she had a tight chest and struggled breathing, so we took her to the doctors because we thought it could be asthma, but then found out it was all part of leukaemia.
“We’re lucky because a couple of other children on the ward were told to try antibiotics and it took months down the line before they had a blood test. But the doctor said he wanted to do them straight away just to be sure."
Currently, Isla's parents, Kelly and Jeff, have been staying at the hospital with her for the past three weeks.
Isla's older brothers, aged 13, 18, and 19, that live at home and three other siblings, are the only other relatives that can visit her in person.
Kelly added: “We can’t even give her a kiss or a hug due to her weakened immune system.
"She’s got high blood pressure and is diabetic now. She has no immune system and her hair is falling out.
"They say that means the medication is good and everything is working but it’s only been two weeks and she’s got a few more weeks of intense chemo. You don’t realise how awful the side effects will be.”
The family are grateful for the support they've received from friends, relatives, and the community.
Kelly said: “They’ve been FaceTiming and her friends did her a massive hamper with photos; the Valley Gymnastics Academy and Rossendale Harriers have also sent her a hampers.
“People have donated as well. The money will be going towards petrol and food. Jeff is self-employed so doesn't have any income at the moment, so it will relieve some financial pressure.
“Isla can get a wig for free from a charity, if she wants more than one then the cost will be £1,500.
"If there’s any money left then we’ll use it for a day out for Isla, whatever she wants to do so there is something for her to look forward to after two years of treatment.”
The funds raised will also assist in making their home more accommodating for her during treatment.
At the end of her journey, the family plans to get together to do fundraisers for Ronald McDonald House Charities, as Kelly says, “they’ve been amazing so we want to give back to them.”
To donate to Isla Flockhart’s GoFundMe, visit here.