A COURAGEOUS Scottish schoolgirl had to have her kidney removed in her fight against cancer.
Seven-year-old Amy Reid, of Coatbridge, Lanarkshire endured a stem cell transplant as part of her treatment.
She is one of around 110 children in Scotland who are diagnosed with cancer every year.
Now Amy is backing Give Up Clothes for Good, a partnership between TK Maxx and Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens.
Amy is asking people to help beat children’s cancers sooner by dropping off any unwanted clothing, accessories and quality homeware at TK Maxx stores across Scotland. When sold in Cancer Research UK shops,each bag of donated items could be worth around £30 for research in to cures and kinder treatments for cancers affecting children, teens and young adults.
Amy and mum Laura, 37, dad Robert, 40, and brother Gary,17, know exactly how vital new breakthroughs and discoveries are to help more youngsters survive.
Amy who is now clear of cancer is proud big sister to the family’s newest addition, six-month-old Sophie.
Amy’s mum, Laura said: “Amy is so proud to be a big sister and she’s loving life.
“Amy has a hospital check up every four months but is doing so well. She’s an orange belt at karate already, enjoys swimming and PE is her favourite thing at school. We’re so grateful for the treatment that saved her life. Now looking at her I can’t believe she was ever so ill. Her recovery is amazing.”
Amy first became ill with a high temperature only hours after her mum Laura’s wedding day on September 21 2012.
The family were set to jet off on holiday to Spain after the wedding reception. Instead they ended up at Wishaw General Hospital and then Yorkhill Children’s Hospital after Amy’s condition deteriorated and scans showed a tumour on Amy’s left kidney. Amy was diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumour, a kidney cancer and went through a six hour operation to remove the kidney.
Laura said: “As I took Amy down to the operating theatre I was trying to stop myself crying to keep Amy calm so she would be okay.
“I knew Amy was getting the best care possible but seeing your child like that is so difficult. If I could have taken Amy’s place then I would have. I paced around outside until she came out of surgery. Now she tells everyone that the scar where they took the kidney out is a big snake.”
Amy started on chemotherapy but it was a hammerblow when tests revealed there was also a tumour on her lung. It meant a second operation to remove the tumour followed by a year of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
By October 2013, doctors explained that Amy’s best chance of survival was a stem cell transplant to help her body make new healthy blood cells after her own had been destroyed by the disease.
It meant two weeks in an isolation ward to reduce the risk of infection but it worked and Amy recovered. She’s now back at school at St Timothy’s Primary in Coatbridge.
A huge Batman fan, Amy rallied a 16-strong team of family and friends to raise life saving cash for Cancer Research UK at Race for Life in Glasgow last spring.
TK Maxx launched Give Up Clothes for Good in 2004 – the UK’s largest and longest running charity clothes collection - and since then has raised more than £22 million for Cancer Research UK. Around £18 million of this has specifically supported research into children’s cancers, making the brands-for-less retailer the UK’s biggest corporate supporter of research into cancers affecting children and young people.
Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens spokeswoman for Scotland, said: “Cancer has a devastating impact on children, forcing them to show bravery beyond their years.
“Treatment can last for months, or even years, meaning long stays in hospital away from siblings and friends. Unfortunately, some children also have to face living with side-effects from their treatment which can last long into adult life. We hope people across Scotland will support our drive to find cures and kinder treatments for children’s cancers. Dropping off unwanted clothing and homeware at TK Maxx will help fund research which really could save lives.”
Cancer Research UK’s Children’s Cancer Trials Team co-ordinates groundbreaking trials in 21 centres, across the UK and Ireland, including the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh and the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow. For instance, one of the trials is finding out if a drug that boosts the immune system can help to treat children with a rare form of cancer called neuroblastoma. It’s the first time this treatment has been made available to children with cancer in the UK.
Jo Murphy, Assistant Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at TK Maxx said: “We are committed to helping Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens find better and kinder treatments for young people with cancer. The Give Up Clothes for Good campaign has raised over £18 million for this amazing cause and this year we are asking people to donate quality clothing that they may no longer wear to help raise even more money for vital research. We would love to see people in Scotland Give Up Clothes for Good.”
For more information on how to support Give Up Clothes for Good and Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens please visit tkmaxx.com or cruk.org/kidsandteens