A COURAGEOUS young girl from Dunloy, who has survived cancer, played a starring role at a special party held to salute the courage of all children coping with the disease.
Nine year old Anna Kearns was a guest of honour at the Little Star Awards party, held by Cancer Research UK and TK Maxx, on Saturday, May 28th at London Zoo.
Anna was just seven years old when she was diagnosed with Medullablastoma, a tumour pressing on her optic nerve and causing fluid to build on her brain. She was one of 20 children from across the UK who came together as ‘ambassadors’ to represent the 220 children who received Little Star Awards in 2010/11.
The youngster met a host of celebrities including winner of I’m A Celebrity and host of Sing If You Can Stacey Solomon, Dancing On Ice finalist Laura Hamilton, Cbeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell, EastEnders actress Lorna Fitzgerald (who plays Abi Branning) and Ex-Hollyoaks actresses Roxanne McKee.
And after the fun and entertainment, Anna and her family enjoyed an afternoon at the zoo.
Anna’s mum, Aine explained: “Anna had an amazing time at the awards party. From start to finish she was made feel like a star, as she chatted to celebrities, had her photo taken and enjoyed the special entertainment laid on.
“Her little face glowed with pleasure as she received her award on stage with the other little stars attending.
“The cancer research team made our visit to London a really pleasurable experience and gave us all some lovely memories to take home with us.”
The party was organised by Cancer Research UK and TK Maxx to help raise awareness of the charity’s groundbreaking work in the field of childhood cancer research.
Following her diagnosis Anna endured an eleven hour life-saving operation, followed by intensive radio and chemotherapy. But thanks to her determination and ‘great spirit’ she is now back at school and has a lot to look forward to.
Today, almost three quarters of children diagnosed with cancer are cured of the disease, in stark contrast to the late 1960s when only around a quarter survived. Thousands more people are alive today thanks to research into children’s cancer undertaken by Cancer Research UK doctors, nurses and scientists.
In Northern Ireland, around one child per week is diagnosed with cancer.
Doug Mizzi, Managing Director TK Maxx UK and Ireland, said: “It is incredibly important to us to raise funds and support the valuable work of Cancer Research UK, as well as recognise the courage of all children diagnosed with cancer and the advances being made in research and treatment. The Little Star Awards do just that and we are proud to support such a positive initiative.”
The Cancer Research UK Little Star Awards, in partnership with TK Maxx, are open to all under-17s who have cancer or have been treated for the disease in the last five years.
The Little Star Awards will be opening for nominations once more in the autumn.
For more information about the Little Star awards, visit www.cancerresearchuk.org/littlestar