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An opportunity for a Hampshire two-year-old to undergo life-saving surgery has been supported through a fundraising spurt at AWE.
AWE staff rallied behind the story of Sophie Roberts, from Fleet, who is fighting liver cancer – raising more than £4,000 to help fund the flight to New York where pioneering surgical techniques should remove the malignant tumours.
Sophie was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma in June 2011 – a very rare form of liver cancer that affects 1 in 100,000 in the UK. Her parents, Andrew and Ruth Roberts were told she had only a 30% chance of survival.
In spite of several rounds of chemotherapy and liver surgery, Sophie went into remission in March 2012 but unfortunately the cancer returned aggressively to her lungs. The doctors then told her parents her only hope of survival was groundbreaking surgery performed in the United States.
The cost of the surgery is £350,000 and although still short of the target (and therefore still fundraising) Sophie and her parents were in the US last week for the surgery to be performed, with the first operation taking place on 9 August at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, in New York.
Staff across both sites have been involved in raising money and the money was raised through two large cake sales, and a sponsored wax, and many, many secret donations after word spread about Sophie’s need.
Sophie’s aunt, Catherine Roberts, works at AWE Burghfield and said: “I am overwhelmed at the amount of support I have received across both sites at AWE; even from people who don’t know me personally but had heard about Sophie. There has been such generosity; at the cake sales we were often getting a £5 donation for one piece of cake! I am also so grateful to everyone who has helped and participated.”
The family has been supported throughout this time by charity Kids ‘n’ Cancer – a charity designed to help children in the UK receive life-saving treatments for cancers and tumours. It also gives fundraising advice and support to relatives.
The most recent total raised by staff is £4,800 and you can also still make donations at: www.justgiving.com/Sophierobertsstory
Notes to Editors
1. AWE plays a crucial role in national defence by providing and maintaining warheads for Trident, the UK's nuclear deterrent.
2. AWE is contracted to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) through a Government-owned Contractor Operated (GOCO) arrangement. Whilst our sites and facilities remain in government ownership, their management, day to day operations, and the maintenance of the nuclear stockpile is contracted to a private company AWE Management Limited (AWE ML). AWE ML is a consortium comprising three equal partners: Serco Group plc, the Lockheed Martin Corporation and Jacobs Engineering Group.
3. For further information contact Media@AWE.co.uk or 01189855888.