A MUM who was told her baby girl only had a 20 per cent chance of surviving the night following a cancer operation is running the London Marathon for a charity that helped the family through their ordeal.
Joanne Reed, 43, from Chelmsford, will be taking on the 26-mile challenge on Sunday in aid of CLIC Sargent.
When Jessica was just 11 months old she was struggling to swallow or eat.
Tests revealed that there was fluid around her heart, which was also making it difficult for her to breathe.
The family were rushed to Great Ormond Street Hospital, London via the Children’s Acute Transport Service, a special ambulance for children.
Doctors were unsure what was wrong but needed to remove the fluid right away.
Following the operation, they ran a CT scan which revealed Jessica had a tumour which was so large it had caused one of her lungs to collapse and was cutting off the blood supply to her heart.
The doctors operated the next day to remove the tumour but warned the family there was a only 20 per cent chance she would survive the night.
Just a few days later, on her first birthday, Jessica was off the ventilator and up eating and drinking and the family had a “mini party”on the ward.
But on the same day the doctors came with the test results from the operation and told the family they had removed a large Rhabdoid tumour.
The tumour is so rare that at the time only five children in Europe had one and Jessica had to undergo more intensive treatment to make sure it didn’t come back.
Throughout what Joanne describes as “the most hideous time in their life” she and her family had support from a CLIC Sargent social worker.
Joanne said: “The operations were risky – we were told if we do this she might die, but if we don’t she will die.
“Getting a cuddle after she’d woken up was an unbelievable feeling - it was a cuddle I’d never thought I’d get again.
“It’s so rare the doctors had never seen it. When you are told ‘your child has cancer’ it’s the worst thing in the world - it feels like the rug is swept away from under your feet.
“There’s no way we can repay CLIC Sargent for what they have done, but I hope this goes some way to help.”
To sponsor Joanne. visit justgiving.com/fundraising/ jigglebean2012