A mum given the news by doctors that her little girl had only 12 months to live said "it felt like the end of the world".

Three-year-old Aria Hodgkiss' parents had the heartbreaking news told to them by doctors treating her at Alder Hey Children's Hospital.

Aria was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) on her third birthday on Tuesday, May 4.

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Her parents, Melanie and Carl, were told that day that their daughter may not live beyond her fourth birthday as she only has between nine and twelve months left, reports The Daily Post.

The devastating news caused her mother to scour the internet for additional remedies that could prolong her "trooper" daughter's life for as long as possible.

The 40-year-old, who now acts as Aria's full-time carer, discovered a drug called ONC201, which she says is not currently available through the NHS and has to be bought from Germany where it has been trialled.

Unfortunately for the family from Wrexham, the drug is very expensive and in response, Aria's old child minder, Vicky Roberts, recently set up an online fundraiser that has so far raised close to £22,000 to pay for the treatment.

Melanie said: "There is no cure for Aria's condition. Once you hear the word terminal, there's not much that can be done but the hope is that this new medication she is receiving may be able to prolong her life.

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"We're taking it day-by-day at this stage and we're realistic about the situation.

"She's doing brilliantly at the moment and as long as she's happy and not in any pain we want to extend her life for as long as possible, naturally."

Aria, whose favourite hobbies include painting and playing with other children, has been taking the drug for around 15 weeks and is "like any three-year-old in most respects" and does not suffer any pain or discomfort as a result of her tumour.

Aria Hodgkiss was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour on her third birthday in May
Aria Hodgkiss was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour on her third birthday in May

She has a daily regime of medication and has undergone radiotherapy.

The hope, Melanie said, is that the tumour will shrink or stay the same size by the time she undergoes her next scan in January.

Adding: "Some days I'm just in bits, but I don't cry in front of Aria because I don't want to upset her. She doesn't know that there's anything wrong.

"Her medication regime is the norm for her and she views going to the hospital as a day out.

"If she asks about her situation we will tell her in a way she will understand, but at the moment it's just about making sure that she's a happy three-year-old, which she is."

Aria with her mum, Melanie
Aria with her mum, Melanie

Aria has three older siblings, aged 14-19, who "cherish her and wrap her in cotton wool", said Melanie who describes her youngest as "cheeky" and with a "dry sense of humour for a three-year-old".

The past five months have been "like living in a nightmare" for the family.

Melanie said that she and her husband, Carl, barely sleep in fear of something happening overnight.

You can visit Aria's Gofundme page here.

She added: "The worst moment was when the doctor at Alder Hey told us that Aria only has around 12 months left to live.

"I'd seen the scans beforehand and had done a lot of research online so it wasn't a complete shock, but hearing that was life-changing.

"We're approaching it on a daily basis and we all just want to make the most of time we have with Aria.

"I'm incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported us in making sure that she's with us for as long as possible."

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