A seven-year-old twin could have just weeks to live after complaining to her mum of a sore throat and later discovering she had a brain tumour.
Claudia Carrick, who has a twin brother Robin, developeda sore throat and difficulty swallowing and was booked in to see a doctor that afternoon.
The bubbly youngster, from Bootle, Merseyside, appeared her usual self with no other symptoms until she fell ill later that day and lost her balance at school.
She was rushed to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where doctors found fluid on her brain and an operation the next day revealed she had a brain tumour.
It is the first time Claudia had spent time away from her twin brother who the family describe as her “soul mate.”
Robin still remains separated from his twin sister due to Covid hospital regulations which means only one adult is allowed to visit at one time.
Mum Alison was told Claudia’s tumour was inoperable due to its position on the brain and that they would have to await biopsy results.
On February 16, Alison and her mum Olwyn received the devastating news that Claudia’s tumour was incurable and without treatment, she would have a month left to live.
The tumour, known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), could also be treated with radiotherapy which could see Claudia live for up to a year.
Claudia’s cousin Natalie Banks, 27, said the family’s life “has been torn apart” in the space of just six days.
She said: “It’s just been surreal. I don’t think anyone, especially Ali, can comprehend it. Ali is praying for a miracle like we all are.
“There’s never a good time for this to happen but right now it’s the worst time with Covid.
“Robin can’t even go up and see her because only one person is allowed in the hospital at one time and Robin is only seven so he can’t go in by himself.
“I think it’s different when it’s a twin to when it’s siblings. They’ve never ever been apart, it’s heartbreaking to watch.”
DIPG is an aggressive, fast-growing type of brain cancer that most commonly affects children.
Clinical trials for DIPG at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London have been put on hold until 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But doctors say this will be too late for Claudia.
In a bid to prolong Claudia’s life, her family are appealing for help to find other possible clinical trials for this type of cancer.
She will also undergo radiotherapy at Clatterbridge Hospital in Wirral, with doctors drawing up a treatment plan with the hope of starting for three weeks from Monday.
Natalie said: “The radiation treatment isn’t guaranteed to work and depends on Claudia remaining stable.
“This was the toughest decision Alison has ever had to make but she opted for treatment in the hope that there could be a clinical trial or a miracle. She just wanted to give her little girl a chance.”
Despite everything she’s going through, Natalie said Claudia is in high spirits and keeps making her mum laugh.
The right side of her body has been affected by the tumour and she is now having to use a wheelchair.
Natalie has set up a Go Fund Me page to help raise money for the family and allow them to make special memories together.
Claudia’s bucket list includes going to the zoo and going in a limousine with her twin brother Robin.
Natalie said: “She’s always wanted to be a bride so her mum said maybe we could get her a carriage and a holy communion dress or something.”
The family said the support they have received so far across Merseyside has been incredible.
Natalie added: “Everyone comes together with this like this, the community has been brilliant.
“The amount of businesses that have donated prizes for us to raffle it’s lovely.
“We were saying in such a bad situation it’s so lovely to have such positivity around the whole family, it’s heartwarming.”