BRAVE youngster Kate Booth smiles with joy – six years on from being diagnosed with a cancerous tumour the size of a grapefruit.
The remarkable youngster faced 33 weeks of gruelling chemotherapy and 15 sessions of radiotherapy after medics detected the tumour when she was just four years old.
It had grown so big it pushed her kidney up to her shoulders.
There was more bad news for Kate and her loving family when the cancer, diagnosed as Wilms’ tumour, a cancer of the kidneys that is more common in children than in adults, spread to the lymph nodes in Kate’s stomach.
But brave Kate, who celebrated her 10th birthday yesterday, battled the cancer and can now celebrate five years of being clear of the disease which once threatened her life.
Her dad Richard, 46, a manufacturing operator, said: “It was like having the worst possible nightmare but being awake. It was so hard to believe.
“To watch your daughter go through more pain than I will probably every have to go through was heartbreaking.
“But her bravery was incredible.”
Kate, a pupil at Holy Trinity Primary School in Seaton Carew, has battled back so well she was able to line up at Hartlepool’s Race for Life last month alongside her mum, Julie, 44, and older sister Emily, 16.
It was her and her family’s way of saying thank you to everyone who helped her.
Mum Julie, a benefits advisor, looked back on the period as Kate battled the cancer.
“It did get to quite an advanced stage, and I cried when we were told,” she admitted.
“I was heartbroken when I was told my little girl had cancer and we were scared as well.
“We first suspected something was wrong when she was four. She was poorly on the day of her fourth birthday
“She had this huge tumour and it was pushing her kidney upwards inside her. They found out that it was a cancer which is rare, but it is more common in children.
“But they did tell us they would do absolutely everything they could for our daughter, and that is exactly what they did.”
After the initial diagnosis the family, who live in Hornby Close, in Seaton Carew, was told Kate would need 12 weeks of chemotherapy.
But after the second blow was revealed, that the cancer had spread, that was extended to 33 weeks as well as radiotherapy.
The treatment proved successful and the cancer went into remission.
Julie admitted: “There is still always the worry that it might come back but she has been given the all-clear and it has been five years now and she is absolutely fine.
“The feeling when you get that news is one of absolute elation, and sheer relief to be honest.”
Richard added: “I think we all appreciate every little thing that bit more now.
“It’s after something like this happens, you realise it’s easy to take things for granted.”