Special awards for brave Bishop’s Stortford girl

Edie Wilson with the Little Star Award

Edie Wilson with the Little Star Award - Credit: Archant

THE courage and remarkable achievements of a seven-year-old girl, who won a school literacy prize despite gruelling treatment for a rare brain cancer, has been recognised with a unique award.

Edie Wilson has received a Little Star Award from Cancer Research UK. The awards – in partnership with brands-for-less retailer TK Maxx - recognise the courage shown by children who confront cancer.

The youngster, from Bishop’s Stortford, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour over a year ago. She had suffered persistent vomiting and headaches which trips to A&E could not explain.

Further tests revealed a five-inch tumour on her brain stem which needed nine hours of life-saving surgery at Addenbrooke’s, Cambridge, to remove it.

As Edie’s brain is still developing she then required revolutionary proton therapy which is not yet available in the UK but, because of her age and the rarity of her condition, the NHS agreed to send her to the US.

Edie’s treatment, which finished in March last year, has been successful. She is currently cancer free but continues to be monitored every four months.

Meanwhile, she has staggered her proud parents Cate and Scott with her progress and achievements.

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Doctors feared Edie may struggle with school work due to the part of her brain affected by the tumour. Also, she had to give up school when she fell ill just six weeks after starting last September.

But just weeks after returning to St Nicholas School, Old Harlow, from a five month absence, Edie won an academic prize for literature.

Cate, who also has a nine-year-old son, Jacob, said: “We expected quite a few difficulties in her academic ability – in her writing in particular.

“We were staggered when she won the literacy prize. She won it because she had gained top marks in literacy and not because she had survived cancer.

“Edie loves writing. She kept a diary and wrote many letters home during 10 weeks in America during treatment. That helped a lot but she also worked very hard at school.

“It was a tearful moment when she stepped up to collect her prize.”

When Cate recently nominated Edie for the Little Star Award she wrote: “She continued to shine despite all she has been through in the last 12 months.

“Even after major surgery, Edie didn’t falter in her cheerful mood and embraced the experience positively.

“She has confidence in her own ability and such a strong mental attitude which has helped the whole family through a very difficult time.

“As a mother, I could not be prouder of my little girl who continues to impress me with her courage, determination and pure love of life”.

Cancer Research UK’s The Little Star Awards are supported by several celebrities, including JLS, Mo Farah, Leona Lewis and Steven Gerrard.

New figures released by Cancer Research UK offer increased hope of survival. According to the charity, around 33,000 long-term survivors of childhood cancer will be living in the UK by the end of 2012.

In the late 1960s fewer than three in 10 children survived their cancer for at least five years. Today that figure has risen to almost eight in 10.

Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress.

Helen Johnstone, the charity’s spokesperson for Hertfordshire, said: “Edie richly deserves her Little Star Award. No wonder her parents are so proud of her.

“Every month 12 children are diagnosed with cancer in the East of England.

“Cancer Research UK is working towards a future where all children with cancer are cured. Despite improvements in treatment, around 250 children still lose their lives to the disease each year in the UK”.

Last year 25 children in the east of England received a Little Star Award. Recipients get a unique trophy, a £50 TK Maxx gift card and a certificate signed by celebrities.

TK Maxx has supported the Awards since 2008, raising a staggering £9 million.

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, visit cruk.org/littlestar

• To donate to Cancer Research UK’s work into children’s cancers text ‘STAR58 £5’ to 70070 to donate £5 from your phone bill. Text donations are free from any network and 100 per cent of the donation will go to the charity.