Maisie’s journey began in January 2021 during the height of the second wave of Covid. After complaining of a stiff neck, an MRI revealed a mass on Maisie’s neck. She was immediately put in a neck brace and blue lighted to King’s College Hospital, where after lots of tests and weeks later, Maisie was diagnosed with Osteoblastoma – a type of benign tumour. The tumour had completely crushed her c5 vertebrae, putting her entire neck at risk.
Maisie underwent 13 hours of surgery at King’s College Hospital to remove the mass and the operation was deemed a success. However, 6 months later during a review in September 2021, the family found out that things had changed and the tumour looked different. Their worst fears were realised when Maisie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma – an aggressive form of primary bone cancer.
After an 8 week period admitted to Stanmore Hospital for DNA genomic testing, Maisie started an intensive course of 6 rounds of chemotherapy at University College London Hospital (UCLH) to try to shrink the tumour. Unfortunately, the chemotherapy wasn’t successful, leading to more surgery to remove the tumour which took 23 hours across 2.5 days. In October 2022, Maisie started a 6-week course of daily radiotherapy sessions to treat the remaining inoperable cancer in her neck.
Spread a Smile has been supporting Maisie and her family since her treatment started – initially through virtual one-to-one sessions with our entertainers and also bedside visits from our Therapy Dog, Thomas. These sessions have given Maisie so much joy and laughter, helping to distract her from her treatment and pain. When she feels well enough, Maisie also joins us for our Spread a Smile outings and experiences. She recently came along for our VIP trip to The Lion King in London and met other cancer patients for a fabulous cookery session and meal with the Underground Cookery School.
Claire, Maisie’s Mum says: “When we found out about Maisie’s cancer, our world fell apart. We found ourselves living from scan to scan, sitting around in hospitals, watching our young daughter undergoing painful and upsetting surgery and treatments, whilst being separated from the rest of our family. The feelings of helplessness, desperation and extreme worry and anxiety were almost unmanageable.
“Spread a Smile has helped to brighten our days during some of the darkest times. They are like a breath of fresh air and have given Maisie so much to smile about. They help us to feel normal again and forget what Maisie is going through, even if it’s for a short time. What they do is truly wonderful and I can’t thank them enough for helping my daughter to find happiness amongst the pain.”
Please help ensure we can continue to support young people like Maisie and their families by donating today. Thank you.