Swaffham family celebrates special Suffolk birthday for three-year-old as break from year long chemotherapy
A Swaffham child was given the all clear to spend some birthday time with her family as a break from her 56-week course of intensive chemotherapy.
Esmé Lambert, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour nearly a year ago, was granted special permission by doctors at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.
Her parents arranged a special week away in Suffolk for Esmé before she embarks on the last two cycles of her chemotherapy sessions.
The family get-together was very nearly cancelled when Esmé unexpectedly developed an infection in her Hickman line, a catheter used to administer drugs.
Fortunately, hospital staff ensured she did not miss her special break.
Esmé's mother Wendy said: "It was so nice for us all and it made such a massive difference. We are so grateful for being able to spend this precious time together.
“Because of Esme’s weakened immune system we didn’t venture out and spent most of the time together just playing inside. The house was beautiful and massive and it was perfect for hide and seek. It really was a magical time and one that we will never forget.”
The family, who are highlighting an awards scheme that recognises the courage of children and young people with cancer, are hoping Esmé finishes her chemotherapy early next year.
Wendy added: “Esmé hasn’t finished her treatment yet and we still have a bit to go but we take each day at a time. As a family we remain positive and hopefully one day soon Esmé will be coming home for good and we can get back to being a family again.”
The Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People Star Awards, supported by TK Maxx, celebrates the strength shown by youngsters who have been diagnosed with and treated for cancer.
The young family from Swaffham are encouraging other families across Norfolk to nominate their own stars.
The Star Awards are open to all under-18s who currently have cancer or have been treated for the disease in the last five years.
Every child nominated receives a trophy, £50 TK Maxx gift card, t-shirt and a certificate signed by a host of famous faces, including This Morning’s Dr Ranj, Nanny McPhee star Dame Emma Thompson, as well as children’s favourite entertainer Mister Maker.
There is no judging panel because Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People believes every child diagnosed with cancer deserves special recognition.
Wendy said: “Esmé was just like any other happy one-year-old, playing with her older brothers and sisters whenshe was diagnosed with cancer.
"If, by sharing her story, we can help raise awareness and funds to fightcancer then something good has come out of this terrible year.
"As soon as I heard about the Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People Star Awards I put her forward. Esmé is fighting all the way and we are so proud of her.”
Patrick Keely, spokesperson for Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People in the East of England, said: “ I’m so glad to hear that Esmé managed to get away for her birthday celebrations with her family.
"She is such a little star and it has been an absolute privilege to be able to recognise her courage with a Star Award.”
To nominate a child for an award, visit cruk.org/childrenandyoungpeople.
A fundraising page has been set up by friends of Esme’s parents to help Aaron take time off work while he looks after his daughter and supports his family https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-little-esme.