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Grieving Kirkcaldy family fundraises to help tragic youngster’s pal

Darci (left) and Jasmine
Darci (left) and Jasmine

Family of a Kirkcaldy girl who lost her battle with cancer are campaigning to send her friend to America for potentially-life saving treatment.

Darci Jackson, who died last September aged six, was friends with neighbour Jasmine Topsakalidis.

By a cruel twist of fate, Jasmine was also diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, neuroblastoma, just months before Darci died.

Her parents are trying to raise £236,000 by April to send her for treatment in New York to reduce the 50% risk of relapse.

Darci’s mum and dad Graeme and Amanda are fundraising in Kirkcaldy, in the hope they can help hit the target in time.

Jasmine’s parents Ioannis and Tania, who live in London, met the Jacksons when they lived in Saudi Arabia.

Graeme said: “We are doing as much as can to raise as much money as we can to help Jasmine.

“Jasmine and Darci were so close, they were best friends. When we lived in Saudi Arabia, Jasmine would come round to the house to play.

“Jasmine is just like Darci, she’s such a cute little girl, and they are in the same position now that we were in.”

Darci’s sister Sienna, 11, has already raised £1,000 through a sponsored silence with her friends and Graeme and Amanda are staging a family evening and a race night.

Jasmine has already had extensive chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and radiotherapy.

Due to severe neurological reactions, however, she is unable to complete the immunotherapy part of her treatment.

A new vaccine in New York has shown promising results in reducing relapse in children where the risk is very high.

Ioannis said: “We just want to be able to get our daughter through this so that she can live her life and one day be able to fulfil her dream of becoming a doctor, helping other people in need.”

Following Darci’s death, Amanda returned to Kirkcaldy with Sienna and Daniel, 13, and Graeme followed shortly after, having found work as an IT consultant in Edinburgh.

The family are still coming to terms with the loss of Darci, who they described as their feisty, brave, strong-willed and fun-loving superhero.

Graham said: “It’s not easy but we take each day as it comes. Obviously we miss like Darci like mad.

“It seems like the longest six months ever since she died, it’s been like a lifetime.”

Having battled acute lymphoblastic leukaemia from the age of two, Darci suffered a second relapse.

Graeme and Amanda launched a $1 million appeal to send her for pioneering cell treatment in America, but she died just days later.

Jasmine’s family has a fundraising page here.

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