A family from Ancaster, Ont. has turned to the public for help after the province refused to pay for a cancer treatment that may save their daughter's life.
Six-year-old Anya Martinez has been living with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) since she was two years old. It's a disease that affects the blood and the bone marrow, and worsens quickly when left untreated, says the National Cancer Institute.
It's the most common cancer found in kids, and Martinez has had a difficult time overcoming it.
She underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant and the cancer went into remission, but she has relapsed twice, CHCH News reported.
Her hope now is a clinical trial at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
As part of the treatment, she would undergo T cell therapy, a process that involves taking cells out of her blood and modifying them in a lab so they can attack cancerous B cells, explains the hospital's website.
The cost of the trial has been pegged anywhere between $500,000 and $800,000, CHCH reported.
Martinez's parents, Dorothy and Michael, recently found out that the treatment would not be covered by Ontario Health Insurance (OHIP) after they appealed to the Ministry of Health for funding, according to the Hamilton Spectator.
The ministry wouldn't comment specifically on Martinez's case, but said full funding is available for "medically necessary" procedures that are either not available in the province can be obtained elsewhere without much delay. But that doesn't include experimental treatments like this one.
The family has now turned to a crowdfunding campaign to help Martinez obtain the care she needs. They have set a fundraising goal of $500,000 and started a Facebook page to raise awareness of her story.
They had raised just over $100,000 as of Tuesday night.
A Change.org petition seeking just under 5,000 signatures also urges OHIP to fund her treatment. It had 2,916 supporters as of this writing.
Dr. Stacey Marjerrison, one of Martinez's doctors, said a team of oncologists at McMaster Children's Hospital believes the girl would be an "ideal candidate for the trial," Metro News reported.
She has already been accepted into it if her family can come up with the money, said Canada.com.
As the trial is new, Martinez's parents don't know precisely how long it would take, or whether it would work.
But they know that Anya would fight through it, just as she's done since she was two years old.
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