THIS Christmas will be extra special for one little girl, who will be celebrating the end of more than two years of cancer treatment.
Six-year-old Mollie Podmore, of Hawthorn Road, was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2009, and underwent 26 months of daily treatment, including chemotherapy, steroid treatment, and endless blood tests and hospitalisations.
Her treatment has been successful, and Mollie has been presented with a Little Star Award by Cancer Research UK, in recognition of her bravery.
Mollie was nominated for the award by her mum Kirsti Simons, who said: “Mollie has been amazing throughout her treatment. She has been so brave and hasn’t moaned – she has been an inspiration to us all.
“We never take life for granted any more and we owe Mollie’s survival to the incredible advances that have been made in children’s cancer research.”
Mollie’s illness first came to light in July 2009, when she became tired and lethargic. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) after undergoing blood tests at the Conquest Hospital, where Kirsti works as a health care assistant.
Kirsti said: “They told us to go home and said they would phone us if they needed to. Two hours later we got a call asking us to go straight back. I knew it wasn’t going to be good news but I still never imagined they would be telling me Mollie had cancer. It was such a shock.”
Mollie was transferred to the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton and began intensive treatment straightaway. She joined a clinical trial funded by Cancer Research UK.
Mollie is now looking forward to the life of a normal six-year-old, without all the daily medicines and health checks.
Lynn Daly, Cancer Research UK’s spokesman for Sussex, said: “Mollie is a true ‘Little Star’ who richly deserves this accolade. She and her family have been through a lot but they all agree she has been a complete star.”
ALL is a cancer of the white blood cells, which help the body to fight infection.
ALL is the most common type of leukaemia in children, with around 380 cases diagnosed each year in Britain.
Thanks to major advances in treatment, around 80 per cent of children with ALL are now cured.