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Girl, 3, dies after doctors misdiagnose her cancer as constipation
By Mirror | Updated Sep 05, 2019 at 11:07 EAT

Just days after being reassured Aoife was suffering from constipation, her parents were told that she, in fact, had a rare form of cancer.

Eilish said the youngster suffered pain all over her body before her sudden death in July.

A mother has shared the heartbreaking moment her three-year-old girl died in her arms after doctors misdiagnosed her cancer as constipation.

Eilish Flanagan took Aoife Flanagan-Gibb the doctors 11 times in three weeks and was repeatedly told her girl was suffering from child constipation.

However, Aoife, from Rayleigh, Essex, actually had a rare form of stomach cancer and died five days after she received her diagnosis.

Eilish said the youngster suffered pain all over her body before her sudden death in July, reports EssexLive.

The mother added: "It was completely unexpected, she had a huge cardiac arrest. I held her because I knew something was wrong with her. She died in my arms.

"As soon as she passed away and I was out of the hospital I knew she couldn't end there. Her life on this planet, that couldn't just be it. We needed to do something for the other children.

"I was researching germ cell cancer and there's no charity for it. It's rare but very real, it can happen to anybody.

"I donated part of her organs, tissues and tumours to doctors so we can learn how to give more chances to other children. It couldn't be in vain."

Eilish is fighting to make changes in her daughter's name and is in the process of creating the UK's only germ cell cancer charity to raise awareness and money for other sick children.

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Just weeks before falling ill, Aoife's family moved to their new home in Rayleigh, Essex.

She had her own Shetlend pony, called Bubbles, and she was described as a 'happy' three-year-old.

"She was very much a wild child," Eilish said. "She loved her pony, Bubbles, where the charity gets its name.

"She absolutely adored Queen Elsa from Frozen, that was her first love. She also loved Paw Patrol, and we'd just been to the cinema to see the movie a week before she was diagnosed and she loved it.

"She was so happy, bubbly and bouncy. And the best word to describe her is kind."

But at the beginning of June this year, Aoife started to experience pains in her stomach area.

"I took her to see the GP or a consultant doctor 11 times in three weeks," Eilish explained. "She'd been in and out of hospital with different infections and problems but they kept telling us she had common child constipation.

"As a mother I knew there was something else wrong. I raised my concerns and she had pains in other areas of her body but the doctors never examined her. She had a tumour on her bottom but they failed to investigate it.

"We saw as a family, and we've got the support of doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital, that the doctors should never have missed what was wrong with her."

Just days after being reassured Aoife was suffering from constipation, her parents were told that she, in fact, had a rare form of cancer.

Eilish said: "It's not about blame or anger, it's about accountability. On the first night in Southend Hospital they told me I wasn't feeding her properly or that she needed more exercise, but she had her horse and she rode her out every day.

"She had a huge tumour in her liver blocking her bowel.

"When we were waiting to be transferred to GOSH we were shown an x-ray and you could see the diseases and tumours. We were aware it was in her liver and we knew we were in a bad situation."

According to Cancer Research UK, germ cell tumours develop in germ cells. These are the cells in the body that develop into sperm and eggs.

Germ cell tumours most often develop in the ovary or testicle because this is where most germ cells are.

But germ cells can sometimes be left behind in other parts of the body from when a baby developed in the womb. So these tumours can develop anywhere in the body where there are germ cells.

Eilish added: "We were told by consultants at GOSH that she had germ cell cancer and it was welcomed because that type of cancer is so reactive to chemotherapy.

"But it was just too late. They didn't give us a fair chance.

"She was scared because she had lost quite a lot of weight but she still had the courage in her and she was fighting with every ounce of her body, she was so brave."

On July 7, Aoife passed away suddenly in hospital.

Eilish is in the process of setting up Aoife's Bubbles, a dedicated germ cell charity to raise awareness and educate people about the symptoms, diagnosis and effects of the rare disease.

The charity will also raise funds to support sick children and families who are going through the same experience.

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