Take that, cancer! !
My girl’s an inspiration to everyone around her
My legs seemed to give way from beneath me and I fell into my husband’s arms. ‘Cancer?’ I gasped. ‘My little girl has cancer?’
My hubby Paul, 51, held me as I cried.
It was January 2014, and we’d just been told that our daughter Charlotte, then 11, had leukaemia.
Noticing she’d looked a bit pale, I’d had taken her to our GP, thinking it she was anaemic. But tests had revealed our girl was a lot sicker than we’d first thought…
When we told Charlotte, she was so brave.
‘OK, we’ll just have to deal with it,’ she told us.
Her incredible strength was inspiring. And it was what saw her through four rounds of chemotherapy.
Charlotte had a very rare strain of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), which meant the condition was progressing both rapidly and aggressively.
Chemo made her sick and she lost her hair.
She even developed a rectal abscess, lesions on her liver, and a rash all over her body.
These symptoms were caused by the fungal infection mucormycosis, which can be a nasty side-effect of chemo.
Still, Charlotte never lost her sense of humour.
When her hair was falling out, she’d sprinkle strands of it on mine and Paul’s hands when we weren’t looking.
When the tickle gave us a fright, she’d fall about giggling. ‘Gotcha!’ she’d chuckle. Only our brave girl could laugh in the face of cancer.
But the chemo failed to get Charlotte into remission. So she had a second, stronger lot.
Stuck on the cancer ward at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Charlotte was bored stiff.
There was no TV after 8pm. And no Wi-fi meant she couldn’t play games online, either.
After her second lot of chemo, Charlotte was in remission.
But, with AML, there’s a high chance it can recur. So doctors wanted to perform a bone-marrow transplant to cure Charlotte completely.
Neither myself, Paul nor Charlotte’s brother Michael, 23, were matches.
So she had to be added to the transplant list.
‘I’ll be fine,’ she kept telling us bravely.
While we waited for a match, doctors ordered a third round of chemo.
As brave as ever, Charlotte took it all in her stride.
She even made friends with other cancer patients on the ward.
I’d often find her chatting to parents of smaller children who were poorly.
‘Your daughter will be OK,’ I heard her comforting one of the mums. I was bursting with pride. Here was my little girl, so sick herself, making everyone else feel better.
That July, a donor was
I’d often find her comforting other parents
found who was a match for Charlotte, and she had the, bone-marrow transplant.
And, eventually, after months in isolation, she was able to see the outside world again.
By now, Charlotte was in a wheelchair.
The harsh cancer treatment had damaged her joints and caused osteoporosis. She relied on a wheelchair most of the time.
‘She’ll need her knees and ankles replaced in the future,’ we were warned.
‘It’s no big deal,’ Charlotte shrugged resolutely.
In September 2015, she returned to school.
She’d missed so much but, impressively, she managed to catch up.
And, just months on, doctors confirmed that Charlotte was cancer-free.
‘We did it! We beat it!’ she cheered, over the moon.
Most kids would want to put cancer behind them and forget all about it. But not our Charlotte.
Since starting treatment, she’d been raising money for the cancer ward at the hospital.
‘I want them to get Wi-fi and better TVS,’ she’d told me.
She hoped it’d keep other cancer patients’ spirits up during their time in hospital.
So, instead of a 13th birthday party, back in the April, she’d held a fundraising night.
We’d sold tickets, held a raffle, a tombola… And we’d raised over £5,000! Yet, even then, Charlotte wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. And, for her 14th birthday, she had another fundraising party.
She even organised a sponsored run, with Paul pushing her in her wheelchair as she waved to everyone.
‘Faster, Dad!’ she grinned cheekily as he ran with her up a hill.
So far, she’s raised over £18,000!
And she wants to raise even more money by holding another fundraising party for her 16th birthday next April.
She’s even become an ambassador for the fundraising and research charity Kidscan Children’s Cancer Research.
My girl never ceases to amaze me.
To say I’m proud of Charlotte would be the understatement of the century.
Our girl’s incredible efforts have raised over £18,000!
Our smiler Charlotte stayed positive despite being so poorly