Siobhan’s Superstar Legacy was set up by Siobhan’s parents, Antony and Sarah Mather, in memory of their daughter after she passed away from neuroblastoma in 2019 aged 4 years.
Siobhan became ill just after her second birthday and, following a scan in July 2017, it was found she had a large tumour above her adrenal gland. She was rushed to Great Ormond Street, and after further scans and tests she was diagnosed with Stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma.
Following her devastating diagnosis Siobhan immediately underwent extensive treatment including chemotherapy, stem cell harvest and transplant, and radiotherapy, and went into remission. In April 2018, during immunotherapy, Siobhan relapsed and did not respond to further treatment. The family were then introduced to a new targeted ALK therapy drug which initially showed promising results as “it allowed her to spend the best part of a year as a ‘normal’ child. She went to nursery and loved every minute!”
Whilst Siobhan was undergoing treatment, Sarah and Antony became aware of an option for a vaccine trial in America and they started fundraising. Siobhan’s journey had touched the hearts of many people and the support was amazing. Yet, despite raising the funds, Siobhan was unable to go. as she had become resistant to the targeted treatment.
After trying more treatments, including chemotherapy, targeted radiotherapy, and another targeted ALK inhibitor drug, the treatment was stopped as these were causing terrible side effects. She then moved onto palliative care.
Siobhan passed away in July 2019 in the arms of her parents’. Antony and Sarah have since decided to support our research to help other families.
In collaboration with Arcobaleno Cancer Trust, Siobhan’s Superstar Legacy is supporting the work of Dr Sally George, our new Group Leader in Developmental Oncology. As both a scientist and a clinician, Dr George can use her work to bridge the gap between research and clinical practice.
Her research focuses on paediatric solid tumours, specifically neuroblastoma, which has poor outcomes for children.
Siobhan’s Superstar Legacy’s generous donation will help Dr George and her team drive forward research using stem cell models to identify the unique developmental drivers of neuroblastoma, and to open a clinical trial testing a new combination treatment for children with the disease.
Siobhan’s Superstar Legacy, and Arcobaleno Cancer Trust, are also supporting Professor Louis Chesler’s neuroblastoma research. Professor Chesler is Head of our Centre for Paediatric Oncology and a Consultant in Paediatric Oncology at The Royal Marsden. His research aims to make targeted treatments more accessible for children so that they can get the same benefits from these therapies as adults. He has also helped to develop a gene test to improve how well we match patients to targeted drugs, which is now part of NHS practice.