Megan Rae, left, and sister Rebekah are battling the same rare form of cancer
Brave Rebekah Rae, 12, and sister Megan, 10, are having chemotherapy in a bid to beat the disease.
Doctors told parents Julie and Murray, from Kirkcaldy, that they had more chance of winning the lottery twice than the double blow they have suffered.
Rebekah has been battling rare bone cancer Ewing’s sarcoma since September.
The youngster has undergone a dozen chemotherapy sessions and a nine-hour operation to remove the tumour. The family believe she may be winning her battle with the disease but they are now reeling after finding out that little Megan has B-cell lymphoma.
Mum Julie, 39, said: “It’s horrendous. When we were told Megan was ill I just collapsed.”
The family’s nightmare began during a holiday in Paris last summer, when they noticed a large lump had appeared on Rebekah’s right forearm.
When they got home, worried Julie took her to the accident and emergency department at Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital.
Staff told her it looked like a soft-tissue injury, but Julie returned to the hospital just two weeks later because the bump had grown to the size of an apple.
But staff still refused to X-ray the area.
Determined to get answers, secretary Julie went back the following day and insisted on more tests.
The lump was X-rayed and later the same day an orthopaedic surgeon broke the devastating news to Julie and Murray, 42.
Julie said: “It was heartbreaking. The doctor said that he didn’t like what he saw and thought it could be bone cancer.”
Within days, Rebekah was sent to Edinburgh’s Sick Kids’ hospital, where she was given scans, blood tests, X-rays and a biopsy.
She was then finally diagnosed with the rare disease, which affects fewer than 30 kids in the UK every year.
Rebekah endured six intensive chemotherapy sessions, which lasted nine hours a day, to shrink the tumour.
She then had an operation to take bone from her leg to replace another piece that had to be removed from her arm.
Since the op, which left her in intensive care for four days, Rebekah has had six more chemotherapy sessions.
The St Andrew’s High School pupil now has two more left.
Julie said: “The effects of the chemo were awful. Rebekah was ill all the time and she lost all her hair, even the follicles.
“She is coping well but she has her tearful moments.
“She knows now she is coming to the end of her treatment and in two months she should be OK.
“When surgeons removed the tumour it was dead, which is a good sign that the chemotherapy has worked.”
But the family were thrown into turmoil again when Megan noticed a lump behind her ear as she was eating dinner.
Julie took her to see a GP and was told it was likely to be a swollen gland.
But the determined mum insisted on more thorough checks and asked consultants looking after Rebekah if they could have a look at it.
The experts agreed to remove the golf ball-sized lump.
Julie and Murray, who works as a driver, were then asked to go to the Sick Kids’ last Wednesday, where they were told Megan had B-cell lymphoma – a form of blood cancer.
Julie said: “That day is a blur to me. When we went to the hospital there were three doctors waiting in the room to see us. I knew it was bad news.
“The two types of cancer are completely different.
“One consultant told us there were better chances of us both winning the lottery separately than this happening to us.
“Megan now has to have intensive chemotherapy.
“She is scared because she has seen exactly what Rebekah went through with it. It’s absolutely awful.“
Julie is urging other mums to follow their instincts and insist on checks if they believe their children could be sick. “I was quite persistent because I knew something wasn’t right.
“People should trust their intuition because tests are not always offered straight away.”
Doctors believe both youngsters can beat the disease.
“The girls are quite determined and the doctors have never given us any reason to believe they won’t recover fully,” said Julie.
But Julie has had to take time off work as a secretary to look after the children and her wages will soon be stopped.
Her four sisters have now now set up a fundraising campaign to help her and Murray until she can return to work.
Sister Tracey Hook, 38, said: “The family are in bits. It’s so cruel that they have to go through this twice.
“They are the nicest people and don’t deserve it.”
Julie’s siblings have set up a Facebook page called Please Help Rebekah and Megan.
People can find out how they can help the family on http://www.facebook.com/PleaseHelp RebekahAndMegan