A Horsham schoolgirl who has endured a tough battle with cancer was given the VIP treatment at a special party to salute the courage of children like her.
Ellie Mae Wile-Dunne, 7, was a guest of honour at the circus-themed Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens Star Awards party, held in partnership with TK Maxx, at The Roof Gardens in Kensington.
The extravaganza, featuring some famous faces, was organised to help raise awareness of the charity’s groundbreaking work in the field of children’s cancer research and the urgent need to boost funds.
Ellie Mae was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in August 2012, and was one of 20 children from across the UK, who came together as special ambassadors to represent around 600 youngsters who have received Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens Star Awards in the last year.
She enjoyed an afternoon of crafts and games, honing his circus skills with activities including plate spinning, juggling and tossing diabolos, as well as ‘clowning around’ in a giant ball pit.
Ellie Mae and her family also met party host Stacey Solomon, before receiving a medal from the presenter and reality television star during a special presentation ceremony.
Ellie Mae has spent a physically and emotionally draining couple of years battling cancer since her diagnosis.
While fighting her illness she also succumbed to E.Coli and pneumonia and she has had to learn to walk again after her cancer treatment, which severely damaged her bones.
Ellie Mae was diagnosed after one of her aunts, who worked as a receptionist at the local hospital, recognised the tell-tale signs for leukaemia and advised her mum Nikki to take her daughter for a blood test.
Speaking about receiving the news, Nikki said: ‘Never in a million years did we expect to hear that.
‘That day we had been running around a farm looking at the animals and now we were frantically trying to find a bed for our little girl in a cancer ward.’
Jim added: ‘Nothing can prepare you for that moment. Shock, dread, fear, anguish and desperation were just some of the words that hit us and lived with us over the next months.
‘We felt like we were being driven in a car we had no control over.”
The Star Awards are part of the Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens fundraising campaign, which aims to accelerate research to find kinder treatments and cures for children, teens and young adults with cancer.
Ellie Mae, who was invited on stage to perform a trick with Pudsey the dog, said: “I’ve had lots and lots of fun and really enjoyed meeting Stacey.”
To donate or fundraise in support of Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens, visit cruk.org/kidsandteens.