|Alice Beard & Cancer Research UK at Badminton|
CIRENCESTER schoolgirl Alice Beard, 11 - who owes her life to an anonymous American donor after being diagnosed with leukaemia - took part in the charity event at Badminton in memory of her mum, Susan, who recently died of cancer.
Cancer Research UK has been chosen as the 2011 charity of the year for one of the world’s most prestigious equestrian events, The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
Alice joined a cancer surgeon, a research scientist, Gloucestershire fundraisers and top rider William Miflin, who has battled cancer himself, at one of the most famous jumps on the Badminton course to celebrate.
After being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in 2002, Alice suffered a relapse and had a bone marrow transplant in 2004. Doctors trying to find a match for Alice had to look across the Atlantic when their search in this country proved futile.
Susan Beard, 51, was first diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma - a cancer of the lympathic system - in 2001. She was treated successfully on three occasions, but last July the cancer returned.
She was admitted to hospital in mid-December to begin treatment but her condition deteriorated quickly and she died last New Year’s Eve.
It had been a shock for the whole family when Alice, who attends Kingshill School, Cirencester, was also diagnosed with cancer but her mum always believed Alice would be a survivor.
She said at the time: “I felt it was important to remain positive all the time and that is what we did.”
Alice, who lives in South Cerney with her dad, Roger, sister Hannah, 21, and brother Chris, 19, is continuing to do well with checkups twice a year.
Roger said: “We will probably never know the American man who donated his bone marrow but we believe he would be thrilled to see what his gift has done for Alice.
“Alice is living testament to the possible benefits of bone marrow transplants for children with leukaemia. You could not get a better example of the good it has done.
“She remained positive and cheerful throughout her treatment, despite being very poorly at times. Everyone from the consultant through to the hospital cleaners who helped her can take credit for who she is today. Our family are very proud of Alice”.
Roger added: “When Susan was diagnosed with cancer, she just got on with it and, especially when Alice was also diagnosed, Susan rarely mentioned her own battle with cancer.
“When Susan went into hospital for treatment we expected her to be home for her birthday and Christmas but she was never well enough to leave. Fortunately, Alice had a happier outcome and she is a survivor”.
Alice received a “Little Star” Award from Cancer Research UK in 2007 in recognition of her incredible bravery in battling cancer after being nominated by her parents.
These days she is very active, attending Girl Guides and helping at Brownies.
Roger said: “She is also taking part in the local pantomime, Robin Hood, with her sister Hannah at the end of November.
“She doesn’t have a lot to say in the part she has got, so she will have to be a very good actress as she is normally a bit of a chatterbox!”
Alice’s brother and sister both took part in sponsored runs over the summer to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
Roger added: “This last year has been very difficult for all the family and Alice’s wanted to do her bit in memory of her mum and helping to celebrate being chosen as Badminton’s Charity of the Year was a nice opportunity for her to do something positive.
“As a family, we are very willing to do anything which may help someone else”.
One-in-three people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives but more people are beating the disease than ever before and Cancer Research UK’s work is at the heart of that progress.
Cancer Research UK spent over £1 million last year in Bristol on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research. The charity funds a number of researchers at the University of Bristol, including a team of international experts in bowel cancer who hope to discover new ways of preventing and treating the disease, and supports around 200 clinical trials, many of which involve people in the South West.
The Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials take place from Thursday 20th April to Monday 25th April. Visit www.badminton-horse.co.uk for more information.
To nominate a Little Star email email@example.com or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org/littlestar The awards are open to all under 18s who have cancer or have been treated for the disease in the last five years.
Notes to Editors
About Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)
AML is a rare cancer in children, accounting for less than 2 out of 10 cases of leukaemia and around 1 in 20 childhood cancers overall. White blood cells called granulocytes and monocytes are affected. As the leukaemia cells multiply in the bone marrow, the production of normal blood cells slows. Children may become tired and lethargic due to anaemia, which is caused by a lack of red blood cells. Bruises may develop and bleeding may occur due to low numbers of platelets. Children may sometimes suffer from infections because of low numbers of normal white blood cells. A child is likely to feel generally unwell and may complain of aches and pains in the limbs, or may have swollen glands.
About Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research
The charity’s groundbreaking work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives. This work is funded entirely by the public.
Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates double in the last forty years.
Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to beat cancer.
For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 7121 6699 or visit
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