A dad has praised his “absolute star” of a daughter for her courageous outlook as she battles with leukaemia.
Ten-year-old Elly Mae Waugh was only diagnosed last July after her parents found bruises and pinprick spots over her body.
Since then, the Hartlepool youngster has faced five out of the last six months in a hospital bed at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
But she is doing it with a smile on her face at all times.
And this amazing youngster is even helping other little children on her ward to get through their own ordeal.
Dad Dean Waugh, 46, from the West View area of town shares the bedside vigil duties with his partner Diane Metcalfe, 50, who is Elly Mae’s mum.
If she won a Best of Hartlepool Award, Elly Maw would be shy and embarrassed but she would be over the moon - and we would be proud as punchDean Waugh, father of Elly Mae Waugh
Speaking for the first time about his daughter’s health battle, the “proud as punch” dad told how Elly Mae has never let her hospital stay get her down even though she’s gone through;
l Lumbar punctures.
l Liver biopsies.
lNumerous rounds of chemotherapy, both oral and intravenous.
l Suffered a seizure caused by a blood clot on her brain which she is still fighting.
l Daily injections to thin her blood.
l And missing her birthday, Halloween and Christmas at home.
Today, Elly Mae becomes the latest entry in this year’s Child of Courage category of the Best of Hartlepool Awards.
Dean, a manager at Warburton’s in Stockton, said his daughter was coping amazingly well with everything she was going through.
“She is an absolute star. Whatever they give her, she just gets on with it.”
He recalled one moment when an injection made Elly Mae emotional.
She saw her father getting upset and told him: “Don’t worry about it dad. It might hurt for a minute or two but then it just goes away.”
Dean said: “It was inspirational but that’s Elly Mae. She just tells it like it is.”
His daughter even helps other youngsters on the RVI ward.
Dean explained: “There was a little girl who was having a tube put in her nose and was uneasy about it. Elly asked the nurses if she could come in and give her support.”
They’re examples of a little girl who has fought acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) since July 22 last year.
Her parents noticed red spots and bruises on Elly Mae and took her to the doctors.
Tests at the University Hospital of North Tees confirmed ALL which is a cancer of the white blood cells. “You never think it will be your child,” said Dean.
She was immediately transferred to the RVI where Diane has remained by her side.
Dean praised the doctors, nurses and parents of other sick children as being a fantastic support.
He added: “This is the most common form of leukaemia in children and it has about a 96 per cent survival rate.”
And the good news is that, providing all the tests and treatments go well, there’s a possibility Elly Mae could go home in the next month.
It would be her first extended release from hospital since she was first diagnosed last July.
Nominations for Elly Mae have flooded in.
One said: “She has shown such courage and determination to get better and even completed all of her school work.”
Another read: “She is so poorly and so brave.”
A third added: “Elly is an inspiration and the most courageous young lady I have met.”
Elly Mae joins a growing list of candidates for our awards but there’s plenty of time to nominate your own favourites.
The Best of Hartlepool Awards will honour unsung stars who go the extra mile to help others.
We know there are heroes galore out there who are worthy of awards. Tell us all about them.
Fill in the nomination form in today’s paper or visit http://www.jpne-events.co.uk.