A LITTLE girl is fighting a rare form of aggressive cancer.

Now a friend of eight-year-old Pippa Payne’s family has launched a fundraising appeal to help them cope during her treatment.

The youngster, from Rottingdean, was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Leukaemia in September 2017 when she was six.

She had eight months of chemotherapy and was then able to return to school.

But she relapsed in November last year and underwent a bone marrow transplant at The Royal Marsden in London.

Her father Gary Payne, 40, said: “Her eldest sister Isabella was the donor and Pippa’s operation took place on Isabella’s 13th birthday.

“After that, she had five weeks of total isolation at the hospital.

“Pippa may be a little girl, but she has fought so bravely – she is an amazing miracle. The doctors and nurses at the hospital said she has got the right attitude.

“She came home before Christmas and is doing really well.”

Mr Payne and his wife Hayley, 39, are well known in Rottingdean where they own two shops – Handy Hardware and High Tides Ice Cream Shop.

They are leading lights in the annual Rottingdean Smugglers’ Night and put in many hours of work for no reward. But family friend Cathy Taylor said they were “reluctant to ask for help” so she was setting up a GoFundMepage on their behalf.

The target is £10,000 and the money will go towards their growing travel and accommodation costs when Pippa is in hospital.

It will also help with care and after-school activities for Pippa’s sisters when their parents are away – the couple also have Daisy, nine, and Mai, 11.

Mr Payne said: “After the operation, Pippa’s immune system is as weak as a baby.

“Her body is slowly adapting to the new bone marrow and in the next month or so she can go back to school.

“However, she needs to continue her treatment with penicillin for the long term. She is also taking blinatumomab, which is a drug used more often in Europe.

“She is the second child in Southampton Hospital to have received this treatment. Because her cancer is so rare, this is a trial treatment and she will need monthly and yearly hospital appointments at The Royal Marsden until she is an adult.

“The support we received from the community has been immense and we particularly want to thank our friend Cathy Taylor who helped set up the crowdfunding.”

To help Pippa, go to gofundme.com/the-payne-family-wellbeing-fund.