Six-year-old Grace Sellers from Doncaster was one little girl who benefited from the hard work of The Children's Hospital in Sheffield after she was diagnosed with a kidney tumour. Her mum Sharon tells us Grace's story...
"Grace was ready for the holidays after her first school year in 2008. She'd been getting very tired but we put it down to the fact she was one of the youngest in the class and constantly on the go.
"During the summer she started to complain of tummy aches but we thought she must have hurt herself when she was learning to ride her bike, or because of first-day-back-at-school nerves.
"But when we got home after the first day at school Grace looked grey and her tummy was swollen on one side. I called the doctor and we were sent to Doncaster Royal Infirmary where we spent a very worried night not knowing what was wrong.
"The following morning an ultrasound scan revealed a mass in her abdomen. We went to The Children's Hospital in Sheffield for further investigation, at which point we were beside ourselves because Grace was in a lot of pain and we were aware that it was possibly cancer.
BBC Sheffield is raising £500,000 for a new CT scanner at Sheffield Children's Hospital
"Grace was brilliant throughout her CT scan. She had to lie really still and we joked that she was going into a big spin dryer. She started feeling better and went to school for a couple of hours. It was great to see her just enjoying herself as normal, but the scan and a biopsy confirmed that Grace had a cancerous tumour on her kidney, Wilms Tumour.
"We were so shocked but the doctors and nurses were brilliant. They explained that they could treat her and told us it was important to carry on as normal and get Grace back on her feet. We managed to get her pain under control so she could come home for a couple of hours to celebrate her brother's third birthday.
Grace Sellers and George Marriott are the voices of the BBC Sheffield Kids' Scanner Appeal. They came to BBC Radio Sheffield in September 2009 to speak to Toby Foster about their experiences at The Children's Hospital, Sheffield. Listen to the interview here.
"Grace started chemotherapy almost immediately. The hairdresser came to cut her hair into a short bob to ease the hair loss. She looked great and that afternoon had her first dose of chemotherapy. She still wanted to go to school though, and although she was tired she managed to go in for the school photo, and went in on the days when she was feeling well even if only for a couple hours.
"Unfortunately after coping well with four weeks of chemotherapy, the last dose gave her a bad reaction and her liver started to fail. She lost a lot of weight and had to have a nasal feeding tube to help her put it back on.
"Grace had surgery to remove the tumour in October 2008 but the operation was more complicated than anticipated as the tumour was attached to her diaphragm and spleen, and after a long operation, the surgeon Dr Walker came to tell us that it had been difficult, Grace had needed a lot of blood, and would need complete bed rest. When Grace started to come round she opened her eyes and made us laugh by announcing, "Is my tumour out now?" Wow, that was quick wasn't it!"
Grace Sellers at Sheffield Children's Hospital
"She quickly made a good recovery and it was difficult to stop her moving around, but the tumour had contained more aggressive cells than originally thought so unfortunately Grace needed a more intensive and longer course - three days of treatment every three weeks for about nine months, plus radiotherapy on the affected area.
"The following month Grace had an operation so she could accept the stronger chemotherapy. By now she was used to being in the Children's Hospital and was regularly in the playroom and schoolroom.
"It was tiring to have radiotherapy every day but she got used to it and never complained. Unfortunately during the last week the combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy took its toll and we had to spend the week in the hospital in the run up to Christmas. We made it home just before Christmas and Grace had a fantastic time.
Grace Sellers meets Toby Foster at BBC Sheffield
"From then on Grace has coped really well, learning to deal with the effects of the chemotherapy and get over the sickness. She always wants to get into school when she feels well enough. We've enjoyed lots of days out and have had lots of memorable times when personalities working with the Children's Hospital charity have visited the ward, or when Grace has got involved with the charity.
"Grace had what we hope will be her last session of chemotherapy in August 2009. In September she had what we hope will be her last CT scan. She'll be monitored closely for the next two years but looks forward to feeling better and being able to enjoy her food again without the feeding tube. We're planning a trip to Disneyland and have booked lots of days out to look forward to."
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