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Edie Molyneux to line up in Randox Health Grand National

Organisers of Saturday’s Randox Health Grand National have awarded an honorary 41st place in the world’s greatest and richest chase to three-year-old Edie Molyneux, who suffers from a rare brain tumour called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).

Jockey Club Racecourses (JCR) first created the honorary berth last year for five-year-old Neuroblastoma campaigner Bradley Lowery, who sadly died in July, 2017. JCR has continued to work with closely with the Bradley Lowery Foundation since Bradley’s death and became aware of Edie’s story through its links with the charity.

Not only has Edie been given her own set of colours but she will also appear in the racecard in an effort to raise awareness of the disease and help Edie’s family raise the necessary £700,000 to cover the cost of her treatment.

In the racecard, Edie’s red and blue silks represent the colours of her favourite superhero, Spiderman, who also appears as her trainer. Her age is listed (3) and her elder sister Niamh and younger brother Leonard are her jockeys for the day. Edie’s actual weight (14 kilograms) also appears.

Also featured are Edie’s parents and grandparents: her father Stephen and mother Ashleigh, and her grandfather Chris and grandmothers Hazel and Ann.

Her write-up in the racecard reads: Making her Aintree debut, Edie loves walking in the park, playing with her puppy Ellie and gymnastics. But most of all she loves playing with her brother & sister and cuddles with Mummy & Daddy. Sure to make an impact, so will be well supported.

Edie’s sister Niamh has already been studying the form and is tipping Tiger Roll to win this year’s £1 million Randox Health Grand National, which is due off at 5.15pm on Saturday, April 14.

Just over six months ago, Edie started to suffer from headaches and, after seeing her GP, she was referred to a consultant paediatrician at Arrowe Park Hospital in Birkenhead. She was given a preliminary diagnosis of migraines but was referred for a precautionary MRI scan. The results confirmed that Edie had a lump which was located in the brain stem. After a further referral to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, the lump turned out to be DIPG.

DIPG is a rare brain tumour that occurs in children. The location of the tumour, in the centre of the brain, means that surgeons cannot operate to remove it. Chemotherapy is not an option in the United Kingdom because the levels needed to treat the tumour would poison the rest of Edie’s body.

Edie is currently in hospital in Mexico at the Instituto de Oncologia Intervencionista (IDOI) in Monterrey with her mother, father, Niamh and younger brother Leonard. The IDOI is a world leader in intra-arterial treatment for brain tumours and is recognised for DIPG treatment.

Edie’s family and friends in the UK, in conjunction with the Bradley Lowery Foundation, are working on raising the money to help with her treatment. The fundraising goal of £700,000 will help to cover the cost of the treatment in Mexico, which will include specialised chemotherapy and immunotherapy. The ultimate aim is to surpass this target, so the Bradley Lowery Foundation can help other children and families affected by the disease in the future.

 

Edie’s mother, Ashleigh Molyneux, said: “On 30 November of last year, our world was crushed – Edie was diagnosed with DIPG, a rare childhood brain tumour which is currently inoperable, untreatable and fatal in the UK. We were told by our doctors to go home and make memories with the family – but then we found hope.

“In Mexico, there is pioneering treatment that uses intra-arterial chemotherapy which is having good results and showing good progress. We’ve been in Monterrey, Mexico for three months now, leaving our family and friends behind.

“The most recent MRI scan from early March shows a small amount of shrinkage which is a massive step because we had been previously told that the tumour was stable and was not growing.

“Please support us in any way you can, even if it’s just liking and sharing the Spider-Ede page on Facebook and telling people all about the disease.”

Edie’s father, Stephen Molyneux, added: “Each treatment costs approximately £30,000. At the moment, we don’t know how many treatments Edie is going to need so we’re hoping to raise at least £700,000 to cover the cost. Amazingly though, we’ve already managed to raise £200,000 so far which is a really good start, but there is a long way to go.”

Gemma Lowery, co-founder and chief executive of The Bradley Lowery Foundation, said: “I remember last year like it was yesterday. Bradley had an amazing time at the Randox Health Grand National and his Daddy and I have got special memories to treasure for the rest of our lives.

“Aintree helped us to continue to raise crucial awareness by giving Bradley the 41st horse in the Randox Health Grand National and, this year, they are continuing to do that by supporting one of our children and the Bradley Lowery Foundation is helping to raise money for life saving treatment.

“We are very grateful and overwhelmed that Aintree are still supporting us as a charity and would like to thank everyone involved. Together we can all make a difference.”

 

John Baker, who runs Aintree as North West Regional Director for Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “The whole nation was touched by Bradley Lowery’s story and we were honoured to welcome him to Aintree as the first ever 41st runner in the Randox Health Grand National last year.

“Bradley’s legacy lives on and we’re delighted to announce that Edie Molyneux, who is supported by the Bradley Lowery Foundation and a local Liverpool girl, will be the 41st runner in the Randox Health Grand National this year.

“We’re delighted to help in any way we can in order to raise awareness and support Edie in her journey.”