Take that, can­cer! !

My girl’s an in­spi­ra­tion to ev­ery­one around her

Chat - - Contents - By Lynne Jen­nings, 46, from Stock­port

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

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