A FIVE-YEAR-OLD girl battling a rare cancer is undergoing emergency surgery tonight (Tuesday, January 14) after collapsing in agony.

Fraja Simpson, of Leeming, North Yorkshire, was rushed to the Friarage Hospital, in Northallerton, at midnight on Sunday (January 12) after experiencing the most excruciating pain she has felt since being diagnosed with MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma last January.

After a series of tests failed to reveal the cause of her pain, she was transferred to Leeds General Infirmary, where consultants said Fraja may have suffered a burst appendix or that her cancer could have relapsed, days after returning to Leeming RAF Community School pupil for the Spring term.

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Tonight, surgeons are undertaking a complex operation to remove her appendix and bowel, which have become attached, and remove internal scarring as part of an exploratory operation.

Her mother, Michelle, said while Fraja had experienced discomfort from water infections in recent weeks, the need for emergency surgery had come as a thunderbolt as Fraja had spent Sunday bouncing around with friends.

Mrs Simpson said: “Fraja is very poorly at the moment and the doctors are unsure as to what is making her so poorly, but we have to expect that this could be something serious to do with her condition.

“It’s hard to believe that this time last year Fraja got diagnosed with this aggressive cancer, the waiting, the pain and the thoughts going round our heads was pure detestation.

“I can't believe 12 months on we are reliving those feelings, the past 24 hours every emotion has passed through us.”

After an operation to remove most of her tumour last summer, medics decided as there had been only a couple of cases similar to Fraja's cancer in the world, they would rather monitor her neuroblastoma cells, as they may not grow.

Her father, Garry, who hails from Consett and is a flight sergeant with 90 Signals at RAF Leeming, said his daughter was expected to spend up to ten days in hospital recovering from the operation.

He said the operation had come as a huge setback for Fraja as she had been determinedly building up a range of activities since being allowed to return to school last September.

Ahead of the surgery, Fraja was cheered up with a visit from Chris Chittell, the longest-serving cast member of television show Emmerdale.

Mr Chittell, who plays Eric Pollard, is among thousands of fundraisers who have generated £150,000 towards the £500,000 appeal to enable the youngster to receive pioneering treatment in the US should her tumour grow again.