Claudia, the British girl who beat brain cancer, has passed away.

Four months ago, Claudia Burkill’s family announced that her terminal brain cancer was in remission and she was no longer classed as terminally ill. Their happy news was shared around the world

But last night, only a few short months after celebrating a miracle, Claudia’s family announced that she had passed away in her sleep, aged 8.

The announcement was made on the family’s Facebook page, Claudia’s Cause:

Claudia, of Mount Rasen in England, was told by doctors that she had metastatic pineoblastoma, a malignant brain tumour, at the age of five. Three years to the day of her diagnosis, Claudia’s parents were told that she was miraculously cancer-free after an experimental treatment called the Milan Protocol.

Since being given the all-clear, Claudia had been suffering from pneumonia and lung issues, which are believed to have caused her death. A few days ago, Claudia’s mother posted a picture of Claudia surrounded by her pets, noting “I swear that animals understand”.

The Burkill family, including parents David and Andrea and Claudia’s siblings Abigail, Esme and Zachery have asked for privacy while they grieve this beautiful and brave little girl.

Mamamia covered Claudia’s story four months ago and readers celebrated her recovery with the rest of the world. We are all saddened to hear of her passing today. In June we shared this story about a tough little girl and a family who never gave up:

Claudia Burkill was only five when she was diagnosed with brain cancer — and told she had only had six weeks to live.

But that prognosis was three years ago. And miraculously, the brave little girl has now defied doctors’ expectations — by becoming the first person in the world to beat her rare form of the disease.

Claudia,  from Lincolnshire in the UK, first became ill in June 2011, when she began vomiting on a family holiday.

She was originally told she had a virus — but a second visit to hospital and several tests, including a CT-scan and an MRI saw doctors diagnose her with a squint and gave the family some plasters and  instructions to return for an eye test in six weeks.

But Mrs Burkill was not satisfied with the diagnosis.

She had Claudia transferred to another hosptial, Queens Medical Centre Nottingham — “and that is where our long, difficult and painful journey started,” Mrs Burkill says, writing on website Claudia’s Cause. 

Claudia and her mum.

A lethal tumour was found at the centre of tiny Claudia’s brain, and the prognosis was dire.


The girl was diagnosed with metastatic pineoblastoma, a form of cancer so rare that doctors only see three or four cases of the condition a year, the Daily Mail reports.

“Over the next couple of weeks we were to learn that Claudia’s tumour was cancerous, incredibly rare and aggressive,” Mrs Burkill wrote.

“(We learned) it didn’t even have a 5% survival rate worldwide.”

The little girl underwent two high-dose courses of chemotherapy, followed by 44 gruelling sessions of maximum-dose radiotherapy as part of an experimental treatment.

That treatment was supplemented by two high-doses of chemotherapy using stem cell returns- “basically bone marrow transplants except the cells came from herself after being harvested at Birmingham Children’s Hospital,” Mrs Burkill explains.

Throughout Claudia’s illness, doctors told the family on four occasions that she only had weeks to live.

But after thee years of heartache, all the while,believing the family’s “lives were changed and dare I say it, ruined forever”, Mrs Burkill says she and Mr Burkill received the miraculous news this weekend.

Exactly three years since Mrs Burkill first contacted hospital about Claudia’s health, Mrs Burkill says she received a phone call Saturday evening about recent testing — and was overjoyed to hear the results show there is no longer a tumour in Claudia’s brain.

“A miracle has happened,” Andrea Burkill wrote on a Facebook page called Claudia’s Cause.

“Claudia is cancer-free and no longer classed as terminally ill,” she wrote.

“A miracle has happened, it really has,” Claudia’s mum wrote. (Photo: Facebook)

“A miracle has happened, it really has. I just can’t stop shaking.”

She wrote last night that the news had only just started to sink in, adding: “Everything is surreal…..this time four days ago, I didn’t even have any idea that Claudia was ever going to beat this cancer…..”

“Life feels very different now. Claudia spent the day at school with us which was an incredible feeling. It was there that I realised…..I no longer feel afraid. I used to worry that I would never feel happy again, not properly…..I am not talking about smiling, I mean that really warm content feeling that we get inside,” she said.

“Claudia, I have said it a million times before and I will say it a million times more, you are amazing and you have made so many people happy,” she wrote.

“All in all, what can I say, life is beautiful.”

Learn more about Claudia on this website. You can also visit the Cancer Council Australia website here.