A South Carolina mother is fighting to save her nine-year-old daughter, who in January was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer rapidly spreading through her brain.
At the age of four, Allie McNabb was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare malignant tumor of the retina of her right eye. After two years of medical treatment involving chemotherapy and radiation, the now fourth grader seemed to be in the clear.
But just days before Christmas, Allie began experiencing excruciating pain. Doctors were forced to remove her right eye, and three weeks later came back with terrible news.
Her cancer had returned in an even more aggressive form known as Extra-ocular Retinoblastoma. The cancer had spread from Allie’s eye and into her brain.
Amanda McNabb took her daughter to every specialist in the region, but due to the location of the tumor, chemotherapy would not be a viable option, doctors said.
"It's a very aggressive, fast growing tumor and it needs to be addressed right away," the mother of four, told reporters in an interview.
Desperate to save her daughter, McNabb now plans to uproot her family and relocate more than 2,000 miles from South Carolina to California seeking access to medical marijuana, which is illegal in her home state.
Two California clinics have reviewed Allie’s case and believe medical marijuana will not only help to slow the tumor's growth but also ease her symptoms.
Cases like Allie’s are behind the push to legalize medical marijuana in South Carolina, perhaps one of the most conservative states in the nation.
There are currently two bills under review in the State House that have received bipartisan support, but that offers little consolation to McNabb who is racing against time.
With money being the only obstacle standing in the way of getting Allie the treatment she needs, McNabb has relied on her local community and the kindness of strangers to raise funds, including a $4,500 deposit to hold Allie’s spot in the treatment center.
“We are asking for your help, to help Allie go West, where she can be seen by a team of specialists, who will customize a treatment protocol for her,” McNabb wrote on a GoFundMe page established to raise money for the move.
The family anticipates treatment will take anywhere between three weeks and three months.
“Our best estimate at this time of the real cost of getting Allie the care she needs is $30,000 to $50,000,” McNabb said.
For more info on Allie’s story visit http://www.artfightscancer.org/