A three-year-old girl diagnosed with an extremely rare form of liver cancer is in the fight of her life and her family is turning to a medical team in Cincinnati for help.

In the fall of 2015, Greta Marofke was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma just days before her second birthday.

She was treated with chemotherapy and her family says she stayed strong and happy during the treatment.

Greta was doing great by the time she finished her treatments six months later and oncologists told the family that her cancer was unlikely to recur.

“We went through everything, had 70 percent of her liver taken out. She did great,” said Greta’s mother, Lindsey Marofke.

A routine follow up with her doctor uncovered some disturbing results and after more test and scans, it was confirmed that Greta’s cancer was back.

She started chemo treatments again and the family soon learned that she would need a liver transplant but they were unable to get the procedure done here.

“They’re monitoring her really closely. Through her blood work it looked like it was starting to come back at the end of summer 2016 so we did some scans, found it was back in her liver. So, at that point, because she’s had a liver resection, basically the only way we can cure this, for sure, is to get her a liver transplant,” said Lindsey. “So our doctors went to the children’s hospital in Edmonton, the Stollery, because that’s where they do transplants in Alberta, and they denied us, which we were all really surprised about but since then we’ve found out they’ve never done this type of transplant before. As a rule they just say no to these types of transplants because organs are so rare in Canada so it’s hard to get approved for an organ so you have to meet a certain threshold to get approved for an organ and they look at published studies. The last published study for this type of transplant is over 12 years old and it says the outcome is about 40 percent, that’s not high enough for them to perform it.”

The Marofke family reached out to Dr. James Geller, a paediatric oncologist at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, for help.

“It’s a really difficult thing to treat, especially a relapse, but he’s having some success and he’s willing to try so give us hope to try is what he’s giving us and here we were given, sort of, maybe we could give her some radiation to buy you some time, we can maybe try a trial. It was, sort of, more down the path of the palliative discussion that we were having at this point here,” said Lindsey.

Geller has extensive experience with hepatoblastoma and the family felt he was the best person to help Greta get her life back on track.

“He was amazing through the whole process. He’s been talking to us on the phone from the beginning. He’s been talking to our team here,” said Lindsey. “Dr. Geller called me and he said, ‘come down here’, he said ‘I think Greta has a chance and deserves a chance, come down here and we’ll see what we can do for her’, no guarantees because we still have to go through the process down in Cincinnati to be approved.”

They took a trip to the hospital in Cincinnati last week and will return next week to try to stabilize Greta’s tumour and to evaluate her for a possible transplant.

“We’ve still got an uphill battle but there’s still hope. As long as there’s hope, I’m going to keep going. With that comes a big price tag,” Lindsey added.

There is a chance that Greta could be prepped for transplant immediately after the evaluation and the family has been told that it will cost a total of about $1.2M USD for the tests, procedure and follow-up care.

The Marofkes also have to pay to fly back and forth and for living expenses while Greta is looked after in Cincinnati.

A GoFundMe page has been established with a goal of $500,000 to help and so far over $181,000 has been raised.

The family says the support from people around the world has been amazing and that any unused donations will go to a children’s cancer charity.

Click HERE to Help Greta beat cancer!