THE parents of brave Eva Williams have been given the news that her tumour has shrunk as the fundraising campaign to send her for treatment in the USA smashes the £250,000 mark.

The nine-year-old Rofft Primary School pupil was diagnosed with an incurable high-grade diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) two months ago.

And on Monday, Eva had a scan to check on how effective an intense course of radiotherapy had been on the tumour.

The results, which her consultant described as remarkable, left Eva's parents Paul Slapa and Carran Williams crying tears of happiness for the first time since Eva was taken ill.

Paul explained: "Eva had her scan yesterday – it was a strange atmosphere at Alder Hey, very much like it had been over New Years, as they have a lot of restrictions on people being in the hospital. Unfortunately, because of these restrictions, only one of us was able to actually go in to the appointment with Eva, so Carran went with her, whilst I waited in the car in the car park.

"Eva had a cannula fitted early on, as they put a dye in to the body to ensure the pictures from the MRI are as clear as possible. Then about an hour later she was called for her scan. For Eva, the worst part is the cannula, and this upset her a little, but as she always does, she was super brave and got on with it."

The Leader:


After the scan the family returned home to Marford to face an agonising wait for the results.

Paul added: "The wait is awful – you cannot help but think that the news is going to be bad news, and that everything we are doing would be in vain. Both Carran and I try our best to remain positive and strong though, and we never allow Eva to see us concerned or upset, as the most important thing is that she remains positive and strong through all of this."

"We finally spoke to our consultant late in the afternoon, and he told us the best thing we could have heard. Eva’s tumour has shrunk significantly following the radiotherapy – he used the word ‘remarkable’ when talking about her reaction. With radiotherapy, the aim is to stabilise the tumour, to stop growth. Sometimes, the tumour shrinks, and even then, the results can vary. To be told that it is significant is the best thing we could hear – finally crying tears of happiness for once."

The Leader:

Paul and Carran with Eva and her brothers

Paul and Carran have been told that Eva is eligible for treatment in New York and has a place. But restrictions on travel and treatment due to the coronavirus outbreak means that can't happen now.

Paul said: "Right now, this buys us time – we cannot start the trials until the hospitals restart them – so having time is the best outcome we could hope for. We know that as soon the trials restart that Eva is eligible, but we cannot control the timings at the moment. So at the moment, we can be positive and happy about how she is coping.

"That said, we also know that radiotherapy is temporary, and though we have been lucky with the effects, the tumour will start to grow again in the future. This is often more aggressive, and so we will be back for another scan in three months. We also now know more about the treatment plan for when we start the trial, and we therefore know that we will need to keep fundraising.

"When we start the trial, we will need to spend up to a month in the US initially, as Eva undergoes initial treatment, including a biopsy and tests. Once she is underway, she will be required to travel to the US every three weeks for six months, and then every 6 weeks after that. She will require an MRI every eight weeks, and the first year of treatment has to be paid for upfront. We have been very lucky in being offered advice and support from other charities and families, and many have said that we should double our target."

Fundraising took place in the community, with car washes and jumble sales, but then the coronavirus threatened to cut these efforts short. However, the campaign moved online with virtual pub quizzes, online auctions and donations.

One person making a donation said: "We don't know you but we wish for healing and health for Eva. Stay strong and be happy! The journey is a challenge but one you face with such bravery, what an amazing family you are. Take care!"

The Leader:

And, today (Wednesday, April 1) the initial target of £250,000 was reached. But the fundraising won't and can't stop now as the family will have to travel back and forth to America while Eva undergoes the pioneering treatment.

Just before the campaign hit its target, Paul said: "The generosity that we have been shown by everyone so far is incredible – I keep saying it and I will never stop, but Carran and I are so truly grateful. We are humbled by the effort everyone has gone to in order to help us, and to help Eva. We now need to ask that people keep going – we will reach the initial target soon, but when we do, it is so important that things don’t stop.

"As soon as this virus settles, we aim to continue with all of the events we had planned, and more, but please please please keep helping, sharing and supporting where you can."

Support Eva at