IT'S the best birthday present Jasmine Flay could ask for – her pioneering cancer treatment seems to be working.

She has just flown home from America, where she is being treated in a last ditch attempt to shrink a tumour in her windpipe.

Jasmine, who is a Teignmouth Community College sixth former and who lives in Bishopsteignton, will be celebrating her 17th birthday with family and friends on Tuesday.

Then it will be back to the USA for more treatment for a week, followed by another trip home for two-months – a cycle of travel she will continue for the rest of the year.

Jasmine said she was pleased to be home to see her family and mates again, but was settling in well in the States.

'It makes it all worthwhile when the early news is good, but I know it is a long haul. I am staying with either my mum or dad in a special Children's Inn, about five-minutes walk from the hospital, which can accommodate 58 families from all over the world.

'Everybody in America is so kind and friendly, l From page 1

and I have made friends with some of the other patients.

'I feel much better – a lot more active – and I am determined to beat this disease.'

Mum Angie described the positive results from the National Institute of Health in Bethesda – the leading hospital in the world for such treatment – as 'fantastic news'.

She said:?'Her progress is very impressive. In only 12 weeks they can see signs that the tumour is shrinking.

'The doctors are very pleased, and told me they did not expect to see such good signs in so short a time. There are children there from all over the world undergoing the same treatment, and some are not expected to show an improvement for a year or more.

'Apparently it all depends on the individual, and Jasmine is responding well. She met young people with the same type of cancer, and is much more positive now she realises there is light at the end of the tunnel.'

Angie thanked generous readers, organisations, businesses, schools and individuals who have donated money to meet the travelling and accommodation costs. The treatment is being offered free by the hospital.

'We could not have done it without the help of the people of Teignbridge. They have been amazing, with all kinds of fund raising events being undertaken. We have to keep the fund raising going, and would welcome any ideas from people,' she said

Jasmine suffers from multiple endocrine neoplasia, and after years of surgery which did not work, UK surgeons admitted they could do no more and recommended the US medical centre, which is devoted entirely to clinical research.

She is given daily doses of drugs to take, and her condition is monitored daily by the medics.

One of the latest fundraising events was at Bishopsteignton Primary School, which handed over a cheque for £100 from the sale of cakes and refreshments.

'It was the idea of one little girl who roped in her friends and I was so touched when I went to meet them – they are lovely, thoughtful girls,' Angie added.