Kelly’s quest for US surgery

Latrobe Valley mother Kelly Phillips is urging the community to help her daughter Emily travel to America for a surgery to remove a tumour on her neck. photograph anne simmons

Latrobe Valley mother Kelly Phillips is urging the community to help her daughter Emily travel to America for a surgery to remove a tumour on her neck. photograph anne simmons

A Morwell mother is urgently seeking funds for a surgery in the United States which she believes will give her daughter Emily Phillips the best chance of a "normal life".

In December 2016 Emily noticed a lump on her neck which looked like a mosquito bite.

They later discovered a rare tumour in the parotid gland called mucoepidermoid carcinoma which if operated on, could leave half of her face drooping.

Her mother, Kelly Phillips, said a US surgeon offered a chance to save her facial nerves, causing much less disruption to the appearance of her face.

"The [Australian surgeons] not only want to cut out the tumour and the facial nerve, but then they want to try and take nerves from her legs, muscle and skin to help rebuild the whole face," Ms Phillips said.

Emily is booked in for her surgery on April 19 at Monash Children's Hospital, however, her mother has placed the procedure on hold in the hope of raising $100,000 to send her daughter to Dr Babak Larian in Beverly Hills.

The mother of seven has been emailing the Californian surgeon since early April, who has given Ms Phillips hope he could save the singing voice and smiling face of her "happy kid".

A Facebook group called 'Parotid People' led Ms Phillips to the surgeon.

She said she had sought help from many different Australian doctors, including a Sydney-based surgeon Dr Ron Bova who specialises in the ear, nose and throat.

They initially started fundraising in the hope of sending Emily to Sydney, however, the doctor told them to "forget it" when he found out her young age.

"You have to be 14 and over for him to touch it," she said.

The family has launched a Go Fund Me page seeking financial support for the US tumour removal, where health subsidies like in Australia don't exist.

Find the page at gofundme.com/emilys-tumour-removal.

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