AN ALEXANDRIA couple whose brave daughter is battling leukaemia have asked the public in Dumbarton and the Vale to pray for their little girl.

Jim and Kellyann McNamee were asked three weeks ago by doctors if they wanted to take 18-month-old Olivia home, fearing there was nothing more that could be done for the little girl.

After beating acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) twice, thanks to a life-saving bone marrow transplant in December from her four-year-old sister Ellie, Olivia’s parents were dealt a crushing blow last month when they were told she had acute myeloblastic leukaemia (AML) – a very aggressive cancer that usually affects adults.

Doctors said there were no other cases worldwide where a child had developed another cancer so soon after receiving a transplant and going into remission, reports the Evening Times.

Her parents, were told the cancer was extremely aggressive and it could just be a matter of days.

But against the odds, the little girl rallied – and within days she was up watching her favourite Teletubbies show and drinking orange juice.

However, doctors at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow say they are “on new grounds” with Olivia and the next few days and weeks will be critical.

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Dad Jim, 36, from Kilcreggan, said: “When the doctors told us it might only be two days and to take Olivia home, we just thought, this is her home.

“She learned to walk and talk in here.

“They were getting ready to sedate her but I didn’t think she was ready to go. We’re now on day 18 of that two days.

“We both believe in prayer and there has got to be miracles out there. Olivia is a miracle in herself. I just thought, if she’s still fighting, then we have to.”

Olivia was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia on October 5, 2017, when she was just four months old.

The couple had taken her to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley a few times but her symptoms, which the couple say included a swollen tummy, had been put down to colic.

However, after her condition worsened and she was vomiting repeatedly, her parents took her back to the RAH, and she was quickly transferred to the intensive care unit of the children’s hospital in Glasgow.

Kellyann, 30, said: “We got told the devastating news the next day that she had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.”

Olivia spent four days in intensive care and was then transferred to the hospital Schiehallion cancer ward to begin chemotherapy treatment.

She spent the next eight months being treated in isolation, but “breezed through” her treatment, according to her parents, overcoming several line infections and Sepsis twice.

Jim said: “She got into remission after five weeks of the treatment starting.

“We were at home for three months and she was having maintenance chemo and was doing quite well.

“Then she stopped eating and was throwing up her medicine. We got taken back in and she was given a bone marrow test and they confirmed to us that she had relapsed.

“So it was on to the next treatment. They told us they didn’t know if they would be able to get her into remission again.

“But they got her into remission within two weeks and she was able to be put up for a bone marrow transplant.

“So she got a bone marrow transplant from her sister Ellie on my birthday, which was December 21.

“She sailed right through the transplant. We were then getting out on day and even night release.”

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However, two weeks ago, Olivia’s temperature spiked and she was taken back into hospital.

Jim said: “They took us in and told us she had beaten ALL twice, [and] the transplant was fine – but for some reason another cancer, acute myeloblastic leukaemia, had managed to grow through.

“So now, it was really, really aggressive. They then said they needed to start treatment straight away and she was given two types of chemo for five days.

“The treatment was drastic in size [compared] to what we were used to.

“They said to us that nobody in the whole world had relapsed this close to transplant.

“The doctor was speaking to experts to try to find someone else but there were no answers.

“She started to get lumps and bumps on her face, which were discovered to be pockets of leukaemia.

“They asked us again if we wanted to continue with treatment.

“At this stage, we are not up for giving up.”

Jim has been forced to give up his job as a joiner and the family have been staying at Marion’s House, run by the Clic Sargent charity, next to the hospital, since their daughter was diagnosed.

He said: “It really tests your relationship.

“We’ve been married nearly 10 years, this year so we are not just getting flung into this on a new relationship.

“Ellie was in school in Alexandria but we’ve had to take her out now. With her sister so close to dying, she had to be here. Financially it has been crippling.”

Doctors are waiting to see if Olivia’s white blood cell levels rise enough for more chemotherapy.

She may also be given radiotherapy, and another bone marrow transplant could also be possible, if her condition improves.

Kellyann said: “Olivia has taken everything in her stride. She has always, always got a smile on her face and you think ‘if you can do it, darling, then we can’.

“She’s an inspiration to us and that’s what keeps us going.”

Jim said: “They are basically on a road now that Olivia can only lead.

“You can only take a day at a time, whatever cancer it is and whatever stage. We can’t plan anything.

“The whole team, from the auxiliaries, to the nurses and doctors, has been amazing. The support we have got from the public has been amazing.

“What got us was when the doctors said they didn’t think there was any hope. But when we looked at her test results, all her organs were working, and we thought ‘she isn’t ready to give up any time soon’.”

A JustGiving page has been set up for Olivia and to help the family through financial hardship.

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