A SMILE THAT WILL LIGHT UP A TOWN

South Wales Echo - - FRONT PAGE - KATIE GUP­WELL Re­porter katieann.gup­well@waleson­line.co.uk

LIT­TLE can­cer fighter Mia Cham­bers will switch on Merthyr Tyd­fil’s Christ­mas lights this year.

Mia, who has won the hearts of thou­sands of peo­ple across South Wales and whose plight sparked an as­ton­ish­ing £300,000 fundrais­ing cam­paign, will be the spe­cial guest at Sat­ur­day’s event.

The five-year-old first be­came un­well in early 2016 when a can­cer­ous lump was dis­cov­ered in her stom­ach and she was taken to Noah’s Ark Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal for Wales in Cardiff.

Fur­ther tests con­firmed the lump was stage four high-risk neu­rob­las­toma – a rare type of can­cer that mostly af­fects ba­bies and young chil­dren.

Since the di­ag­no­sis, Mia has been through a se­ries of ag­gres­sive treat­ments and pro­ce­dures in­clud­ing three months of in­ten­sive chemo­ther­apy, surgery, a stem cell trans­plant and ra­dio­ther­apy.

Af­ter hear­ing Mia’s story, peo­ple from across the re­gion have worked to raise around £300,000 to en­able Mia to go to Amer­ica for a spe­cial treat­ment called DFMO.

The lengthy com­mu­nity cam­paign saw peo­ple dec­o­rate their doors, cars and shops with rain­bow rib­bons to show sup­port for lit­tle Mia.

Now the spe­cial young lady is set to make Merthyr glow this fes­tive sea­son.

Mia’s dad Josh said: “Mia is very ex­cited to be switch­ing on the lights, not to men­tion the chance to meet Santa.

“We have had so much sup­port from Merthyr peo­ple and I want to say ‘a mas­sive thank you’ to ev­ery­one.

“They have given us the hope we needed for a more pos­i­tive fu­ture.”

Sat­ur­day’s fes­tiv­i­ties will be­gin in the town cen­tre from 11am with a real rein­deer, fes­tive walk­a­bout char­ac­ters, sea­sonal mu­sic, dance, a fun­fair, face paint­ing and Santa’s grotto.

The event will then move to Pen­deryn Square in front of Red­house at 4.30pm ready for the big count­down at around 5.30pm.

Heart Ra­dio’s break­fast duo Jag­ger and Woody will be on hand to com­père the event fea­tur­ing per­for­mances by Merthyr Tyd­fil Sal­va­tion Army Band, Fan­tasy Feet Dance Academy and the stars from the Red­house pan­tomime.

Mia and her fam­ily will then join the Heart Ra­dio team and Santa to push the plunger and light up Merthyr Tyd­fil town cen­tre.

An­to­nia Pompa, from The Big Heart of Merthyr Tyd­fil Busi­ness Im­prove­ment District, said: “We are de­lighted to wel­come Mia and her fam­ily to switch on the Christ­mas lights.

“Their story high­lights ev­ery­thing that is good about Merthyr peo­ple who have shown their gen­eros­ity and com­mu­nity spirit to sup­port one of their own in need of help.”

Mia Cham­bers will turn on the Christ­mas lights in Merthyr Tyd­fil

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