ALMOST a dozen celebrities have praised a brave young cancer patient from Redruth who was presented with a certificate for remaining positive despite years of painful treatment.
Pencoys Primary School pupil Lara Cole, 8, was given a Little Star Award from Cancer Research UK, which recognises children’s courage and bravery.
She also received a signed certificate from the likes of Emeli Sandé, Beverley Knight, Strictly Come Dancing stars Kristina Rihanoff and Robin Windsor, England footballers Kyle Walker, James Milner and Leighton Baines, TV presenter Lisa Riley and CBeebies stars Justin Fletcher, Phil Gallagher (aka Mister Maker) and Sid Sloane.
She was presented with the certificate in front of the whole school by Penny Woodman, from Cancer Research UK.
Her brother Treve was also given a certificate for taking care of his sister.
Lara was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow which progresses rapidly and aggressively.
Although now in remission, Lara has to take daily chemotherapy tablets as well as have a lumbar puncture every three months.
She will not be given the all-clear for another two and a half years, but her mother, Rebecca, 47, said: “My daughter has taken hair-loss, sickness and other symptoms without complaining.
“She has had 19 general anaesthetics to date. Although it has been hard for the whole family, Lara is unbelievably strong and we have to be the proudest parents right now.”
The Little Star Awards acknowledge the challenges faced by young cancer sufferers, and raise funds for research.
Around Lara’s 7th birthday, her mum noticed she was pale and uncharacteristically quiet.
“Lara is normally bubbly and to be so quiet was so unusual,” Rebecca said. “She kept getting bugs and I knew something wasn’t right so we took her to the GP and from there she was referred for blood tests.”
Almost immediately she and husband Stephen, 43, were told Lara needed to go to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Bristol where she would be treated for six weeks. Rebecca slept at her bedside.
“We thought being diagnosed with cancer was a death sentence,” she added. “We don’t know how we got through this time, but we now have our daughter back and this is the best thing we could ever have.”
Alison Birkett, Cancer Research UK regional spokesman, said: “Lara is a true ‘Little Star’ who richly deserves this accolade. She has been through the toughest of times and despite this gruelling treatment she has got on with life. ”
Lara also received a £50 TK Maxx gift card.