7 April 2016
Simon Dancuk, Rochdale's MP, has offered his support to the family of 18 month old Gracie Greenwood, who is suffering from a rare brain tumour.
Mum Lauren Doherty, 22 and dad Zak Greenwood, 26 told Simon about their little girl's condition recently. Since then, Lauren has given birth to Charlie, described as a "ray of hope at a dark time".
Lauren said: "We've met with Simon to ask him to help raise awareness of what Gracie's going through, and are really glad that he's supporting us in this. We're hoping to get some events arranged to raise money for charities that help kids who are ill with serious conditions".
Gracie was born on 21 August 2015 and appeared perfectly healthy. It was only once she was 9 months old that she began to show sins of ill health. Speaking to Simon, mum Lauren described how Gracie "became miserable and stopped walking, and she seemed to be going backwards".
"It was at this point that we took Gracie to the doctors, but GPs had no idea what was wrong with her and said that we were overreacting".
By the age of 11 months Gracie started going off her food and gradually became unable to eat, so Lauren and Zak took her to Oldham hospital where she underwent a gruelling number of blood tests.
Lauren told Simon: "Gracie was looked at by a neurologist who sent her to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital for an MRI scan. Later that day we were told that she was suffering from a rare type of brain tumour. She had her first operation the day before her 1st birthday".
After a series of operations, doctors told Gracie's parents that they had successfully removed the tumour, but that it was in the process of growing back, and is now terminal.
As part of her treatment, Gracie now has to undergo neurological scans and receives oral chemotherapy every day to prolong her life.
Simon said: "I was moved by Gracie's story and can only imagine what the family are going through. Gracie and her parents have been through a very emotional time, and I hope to give them as much support as I can.
"I was saddened to hear of the poor reaction that Gracie's parents got when they took her to see GPs in the early stages of her illness. This goes to show just how important specialist charities can be for the families of seriously ill children.
"However, I am pleased to hear that Gracie will now be a big sister to her new-born brother Charlie, and I give the family my congratulations".