THEY had been given the hope of more time with their young daughter after she was diagnosed with a rare, incurable brain cancer.

The parents of six-year-old Zoe Donneaud had been told that through a Mexican clinic, her condition may improve, but that they needed thousands of pounds to make the treatment happen.

Now, after completing the first round and seeing Zoe defy the odds, the Sholing family are in need of more funds in a bid to keep her progression going.

In 2016, Zoe, daughter of Solent University basketball coach Sylvain Donneaud, was diagnosed with DIPG, or diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, an aggressive brain tumour.

Only ten per cent of children diagnosed with DIPG survive for two years, and less than one per cent for more than five years. The average is nine months.

Now, more than a year later, Zoe’s mum Emilie Lefrançois has hailed her progress as ‘incredible’ after seeing her gain much of her energy back.

Emilie, 38, said: “In April, Zoe could not climb the two stairs we have in our garden to access our kitchen, she had to crawl.

“She has made so much progress.

“Everybody tells us she looks so much better.

“We can go swimming, we cook again, she sings and makes jokes again.

“We’ve been able to do so much, it’s a real blessing.”

Doctors have told Emilie that although they can’t class Zoe’s progress as a ‘mass shrinkage’, the density of Zoe’s tumour has decreased.

As Zoe’s tumour is located in the brain stem, an operation is not viable, with Clinica 0-19 in Mexico offering the experimental treatment involving inter-arterial chemotherapy and immunotherapy delivered by injection.

They began the treatment on June 12, with the family needing £64,000 for the first two courses.

The family almost couldn’t afford to finish Zoe’s first round of treatment, with an £11,000 hole being filled through Emilie’s fundraising group in her native France, filling in at the last minute.

They fly back to the UK on Friday, with Zoe and Emilie set to fly back and forth to Monterrey where Zoe had been having treatment.

Every chemotherapy treatment costs £8,700, with medical fares at the hospital priced at £3,800 and flights £2,000.

Emilie said: “Zoe’s tumour is stable, which is already a victory in itself.

“We are still hoping for continuous support to help pay for the next chemotherapy treatments.

“We know we are so lucky that we are loved both in the UK and France.”

To donate to the family’s appeal visit