Telford schoolgirl Skyla stars at celebration for kids with cancer - with video
Telford schoolgirl Skyla Upton was barely three when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
The now five-year-old was rushed to Princess Royal Hospital after suffering pain in her legs and unexplained bruising all over her body.
After finally completing a two-year course of chemotherapy in March, she was given the chance to celebrate in style – at the Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens Star Awards party in London.
Skyla, who is a pupil at St Matthew's Primary School in Donnington Wood, joined 20 children and young people from across the UK who were given VIP treatment to celebrate their strength and courage and how far they have come since their diagnoses.
The talent show-themed party was organised to give children and their families a chance to showcase hobbies such as singing and dancing, because many of them missed out of school plays and classes because of their treatment.
They took to a personalised Walk of Fame with their names in stars and enjoyed activities including a magician’s workshop and acrobatic skills training, as well as practicing their dance moves.
The afternoon also saw a performance by CBeebies presenter Cat Sandion, before Skyla and the children hit the stage to showcase some of their own talents in front of friends and family.
Laura, Skyla's mother, said she her mind instantly jumped to the worst when she was heard her daughter's diagnosis.
"I burst into tears when we were told the news because I just thought the worst," she said. "The consultant explained the survival rate for her type of leukaemia was really high and that helped a bit but I was still terrified.
“Skyla was an absolute angel throughout and learned to take her tablets without any fuss, even though they could cause side effects that made her poorly. She had blonde hair with little curls in it so it was heart-breaking to see it fall out. It didn’t bother Skyla though - she took it all in her stride.
“She struggles to walk long distances because of the pain in her legs but she is enjoying going to school and she loves dancing."
At the Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens Star Awards party Skyla happily took to the stage to enjoy the limelight and show off her dance moves in front of friends and family.
Laura, who is a dance teacher, said: “We had an amazing day and Skyla was in her element. She just loved the performances and activities – but the best bit was when she got to do her own dancing on stage. It made her feel like a real star. After everything we’ve been through it was wonderful for the whole family.”
The awards are held to celebrate the courage of all children and young people under 18 who have been diagnosed with cancer. Every child and young person nominated receives a trophy, a T-shirt, a certificate signed by celebrities and a £50 TK Maxx voucher.
Jane Redman, Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens spokeswoman for Shropshire, said: “It is an absolute privilege to be able to recognise the strength of youngsters like Skyla who have been through so much at such a young age. She is a true star.
“Cancer can have a major impact on children and young people, so it was fantastic that Skyla could join in our talent show-themed party.
“Our mission is to save the lives of more children and young people diagnosed with cancer in Shropshire and across the UK, and to reduce side effects caused by treatment, by finding new, better and kinder treatments. We hope Skyla and her family had a fantastic time and created some amazing memories together.”