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Meet Felicty, 4 - a girl with lots of courage
WHEN little Felicity Curtis hurt her leg playing on a trampoline, her mother never thought she would be diagnosed with cancer.
But this was the nightmare her family faced for the next two years.
It all started when Felicity, then aged two, broke her leg while playing on a trampoline with her 11-yearold stepbrother Henry.
When the plaster was taken off her leg some weeks later, Felicity wouldn’t put weight on her leg and tests revealed that it had fractured again.
“She was really lethargic after that and kept getting ear infections and things like that,” says her mother Charlotte Stubbs, 26, from Fawley.
“After a few trips to the doctor he decided to give her a blood test. We were phoned that night and told to go into hospital. They did a bone marrow test and confirmed that she had leukaemia.”
Charlotte said that she had known that something was wrong with her little girl but had been completely unprepared for the diagnosis.
“I knew something wasn’t right, but I never expected that. I was just shocked. I didn’t want to be away from her. I was scared. My first thought was I wanted to make the most of every minute with her.”
Charlotte admits that she feared the worst.
“I did think I was going to lose her. We tried to stay positive, but you can’t keep those thoughts out of your head.”
In the 1960s, only around a quarter of children with cancer survived. Today, it is almost three out of four and Felicity was given a 90 per cent chance of survival. She had to embark on an immediate course of chemotherapy. It took a heavy toll on her body but Charlotte could also see that it was helping her little girl get better.
“She started being sick but you could see she was awake a bit more, so although it was making her poorly, it had given her a bit more life. You could see it was working. Her little personality came back.
“Felicity never complained, even when she was really poorly. When she lost her beautiful blonde hair twice during chemotherapy treatment she was proud of her bald head. She did get a little upset when people mistook her for a boy – she couldn’t understand that – but wasn’t too bothered by people looking at her.”
Just weeks ago Charlotte was told that her bright and bubbly four-year-old’s leukaemia had gone into remission.
It is a huge relief for her family, who have witnessed Felicity’s battle with the potentially terminal condition for more than two years.
Charlotte says that, although the family are very pleased about the news, they are still worried that it could come back.
Felicity is, however, delighted that her chemotherapy treatment is over and that she should now be able to go to school without interruptions.
After Felicity was diagnosed, the family began fundraising to help others in a similar position.
So far they have raised some £3,000 for the Piam Brown Unit at Southampton General Hospital, where Felicity was looked after.
And they are now working with Cancer Research UK on their Give Up Clothes for Good campaign.
The charity has teamed up with TK Maxx to encourage people to donate their unwanted quality clothing. The aim is to raise £2.5m to help beat childhood cancers.
“Reading back through my diary, within a week of the diagnosis I was writing about how I wanted to do something positive,” says Charlotte, explaining her decision to start fundraising.
“Our plan for the future is to raise as much money as we can for cancer charities and to just have a normal life.”