Young cancer survivor has bright start to New Year

Phoebe with 4-year-old cousin Roman Seabright. Pic Seabright family.

Phoebe with 4-year-old cousin Roman Seabright. Pic Seabright family.

A four-year-old girl from New Cross has celebrated the New Year with a Little Star Award for her bravery in battling cancer.

Phoebe Seabright, who is now free of the disease thanks to life-saving treatment, was presented the award by Cancer Research UK in partnership with TK Maxx.

The awards recognise the courage shown by young people during the difficult process of cancer treatment.

Phoebe was first diagnosed in June 2012, just before her second birthday and two weeks before her younger sister Zoe was born.

Upon becoming unwell with vomiting and a lack of appetite her mother, Laura Seabright, sought medical advice.

An ultrasound scan showed a tumour weighing 1.5 kilograms, about the size of a bag of sugar, on one of Phoebe’s kidneys.

Seabright, a 37-year-old teacher, said: “Hearing your child has cancer comes as a total shock. I had Googled the symptoms and discovered only 80 children a year get a Wilms’ tumour or similar kidney cancer. It just doesn’t seem possible that your child could be one of them.”

Medical staff caught the tumour before it spread, but the young survivor needed two rounds of chemotherapy before it, along with the affected kidney, was small enough to be removed.

But after a difficult few years Phoebe is now back to being a “happy, healthy four-year-old”.

Through it all Phoebe never complained her mother said: “Even when she had to have unpleasant treatments, she bounced back and was so positive and brave and inspirational. And she was so loving to her new baby sister.”

“She is bright and has a very impressive vocabulary of medical words!”

Every year around 1,600 children in the UK are diagnosed with cancer, according to Cancer Research UK.

Lynn Daly, spokeswoman for the organisation, said: “Phoebe is a great example of a child who has had to deal with a horrible disease so early in life.”

“Her story is helping to raise awareness of the progress being made in the fight against children’s cancer… there is still much more to be done to ensure no child’s life is cut short by the disease and to develop kinder and more effective treatments so that children can lead a full life after their diagnosis.”

The charity spent more than £6 million on research into children’s cancers last year alone and the survival rate has more than doubled since the 1960s.

Not reliant on government funding, Cancer Research UK depends on donors, such as TK Maxx, which have supported its work since 2004, raising more than £14 million.

Jo Murphy, assistant vice president of corporate social responsibility for TK Maxx, said: “The Little Star Awards are a fantastic way of recognising the courage and determination of young children and their families who have faced a cancer diagnosis. We are proud to support Cancer Research UK’s groundbreaking research into childhood cancers to help more children beat cancer than ever before.”

The Little Star Awards are open to all under-18s who have cancer or who have been treated for the disease in the last five years. To nominate a Little Star, or donate, click here.

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