London Allen: Heartbreak at tragic death of 10-year-old Sheffield girl after cancer battle

“Even though it was just for 10 years, we were all so lucky to be a part of her life."
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An inquest has heard how a 10-year-old Sheffield girl died from multiple organ failure following complications from cancer and its treatment, which has been ruled as natural causes.

London Allen, from Hillsborough, initially went to her GP for leg pain and nausea. She was found to have widespread cancer up and down her spine and in her liver, kidneys, pancreas and ovaries after being admitted to Sheffield Children’s Hospital on January 23, 2023.

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Chelsea Louise Birch, London’s mum, said: "Even though it was just for 10 years, we were all so lucky to be a part of her life, and I am so blessed to be her mum.

"She was the happiest, most outspoken person you would ever meet. You would just gravitate to the person she was."

The inquest on September 26 heard that London experienced tumour lysis syndrome, caused by rapidly breaking down cancer cells causing toxins to enter the blood faster than they can be removed.

Dr Daniel Yeomanson, consultant oncologist at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, said: "It was the most extensive case of Burkitt’s Lymphoma I have seen, and it was incredibly sensitive. She had two doses of steroids and the tumours just started melting. It makes this even more tragic.

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"She had a lot of disease and it was very sensitive, and that's the key reason why this was so difficult to manage. The right thing to do was give her the treatment that gave her a good chance of survival."

After an MRI on January 27 and restarting fluids, London seemed to stabilise, before becoming very unwell again in ICU in the early hours of January 29. 

She was on a filtration machine to fix the levels in her blood from the tumour lysis, intubated, ventilated, and underwent blood transfusions.

Dr Ranjana Dhar, the Paediatric Intensive Care consultant who cared for London, said: "She had started showing organ dysfunction and failure. After all these interventions I anticipated another cardiac arrest because all her organs were in failure.

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"Parents had expressed that they wanted to be with her, if it came to it. This was the point the situation had reached. There was nothing else we could do. I explained that if she had another arrest then resuscitating her would be futile.

"It was quite evident how loved she was. They really appreciated the time that was provided to them."

London passed away in the morning of January 29, 2023, due to multiple organ failure as a result of tumour lysis syndrome caused by high grade B-cell lymphoma.

Ms Birch hugged Dr Dhar in court and said: "We were all in agreement as a family that you did everything you could, and I'm grateful for that, even if it was just 48 hours more. 

"Thank you so much for giving us those days and going above and beyond for our London."