A dream holiday in Walt Disney World is being lined up to help celebrate the end of a young girl’s gruelling cancer treatment.
Three-year-old Daisy Sayers was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in November 2017 when she was 22-months-old.
Now her mum Melissa, 37, dad Chris, 40, and sister Poppy, eight, are planning the trip of a lifetime to mark the end of her programme of treatment, which has so far involved countless rounds of chemotherapy during the last 17 months.
She has been cared for at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, including a round where the treatment was put straight into her spine, and orally while she has been resting at home in Peterlee.
But with the end in sight for the treatment, as top-up courses now being given to ensure it is kept at bay for the next 12 months, her family are raising funds ready for a break once it is finished and the portacath in her chest used to deliver drugs is removed and healed.
They are aiming for a fortnight-long visit to the Florida resort in autumn 2020.
We want to make it a dream holiday for them, something they will never forget.Melissa Sayers
They are being helped by the charity Bring Back a Smile as well as a host of friends and family members who are raising funds to add to the appeal.
That will include Tata Steel engineer Chris running this weekend’s Manchester Marathon - his first race of that distance - as well as September’s Great North Run in aid of the charity.
He has been putting in the extra miles as well as his usual training with Run Peterlee.
Melissa said: “Daisy knows she’s going to go in plane and see Mickey Mouse, but that’s as much as she understands.
“We want to make it a dream holiday for them, something they will never forget.
“It’s been hard for everyone and we want to go away and not have to worry about where the next penny is coming from.
“It has been absolutely horrendous, there’s been a lot of treatment and going to hospital.”
A target has not been set, but the family are also hoping to help boost Bring Back a Smile, founded by Kevin Hill, through their appeal.
Melissa, a civil servant with HM Customs and Revenue in Peterlee, added: “Kevin got in touch with us and came to meet Daisy and from the moment he met her he absolutely adored her and how she smiled through it.
“He’s become friends good with us.
“Daisy is doing really well at the moment, she’s a little trooper.
“The treatment she’s getting is maintenance treatment, to make sure she’s not over producing and regulating her bone marrow and that will continue over the next 12 months.
“She goes to a nursery thought she can be quite weak, but she loves being with her friends and we try and keep things as normal as possible.
“The RVI, honestly, they are just amazing and it makes you realise we have the best care system in the world and we cannot thank them enough.”
She added a special thanks to oncologist Dr Geoff Shenton for his support in treating Daisy.
Kevin runs the charity with fellow directors Vicki Maddison and Mandy Brunskill, of Hartlepool Property Management, Vikki-Lee Cameron and a team of around 10 core volunteers.
He said: “It’s been great to get involved with the family, they are so lovely and we want to do what we can for Daisy.”
Other backers have completed challenges in aid of the fund, including David Cammis, who completed the Ironman in Barcelona.
Bring Back a Smile will be backed by a night of live music put on by Les Watts on Saturday, July 13, at the Corporation Club in Whitby Street, Hartlepool, featuring Luther Vandross tribute Steve Williamson and Elvis tribute Niall Southall, with tickets £10 from the venue.
The charity will also collect via Thirsk Truck Gathering in June and the VW Festival in Leeds in August.
To donate to Chris’s marathon’s appeal visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chrissayers2019.