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Family of tumour girl trying to help others.

Byline: By Ben Guy

A website set up as part of an appeal on behalf of a young girl with a brain tumour is developing an online support forum for people who are in a similar situation.

The site was set up in 2005 by Philip and Sandra Armstrong, parents of Megan, seven, who was diagnosed in March 2001.

Since then, Megan, of Appletree Drive, Prudhoe, has undergone four operations to her brain, as well as numerous other treatments and is currently receiving chemotherapy each week at Newcastle General Hospital.

Mr Armstrong said the website, which includes full details of Megan's health battle and already has a message board, has attracted more than 9,000 visitors.

He said: "The site had the message board and we thought maybe it would be an opportunity for people in a similar situation to be able to have a forum to talk about their experiences. We just thought it would be a good way of giving something back through the message board."

A notice now placed on the website homepage invites all parents of children with terminal illness, or who have had problems with child protection or social services, to "open debate, express opinions, raise concerns" or to ask questions of the family about any of the issues.

A number of people have already posted their own experiences, to which the couple, and Megan, have replied.

Megan undergoes a scan every three months to check whether the tumour in her brain has changed in size.

In 2005 she began a course of Vinblastine chemotherapy which the family were told had only a 10% chance of curing the cancer, and which was expected to last six to 12 months.

Since starting that course the tumour has not changed in size, and a scan in June will mark two years of the treatment, making Megan the only person in the UK to have been on that particular treatment so long. Mr Armstrong said: "We had a scan in February which showed there was no growth, which is fantastic news.

"We have always had the mind set that we enjoy the time we are in.

"The fears for the future are still there and logically the odds are stacked against us, but we just live for now and it is great that we have had this time."

Anyone who would like to make a donation to the appeal set up in Megan's name can call Philip on 07748 911908 or visit the website at
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 5, 2007
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