Inspirational Hampshire girl who defeated Leukaemia gets a special Christmas

Report by ITV News Meridian's Ravneet Nandra

This is a story about an inspirational young girl from Hampshire.

Seven-year-old Edith was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2018, but 2 years on, her family can finally celebrate the end of her treatment. 

She's been awarded the Star Award by Cancer Research UK which recognises the courage of children and young people who have cancer, and was also treated with a festive themed virtual cook-along, hosted by celebrity chef Jean Christophe Novelli.

The Coombes family from Hedge End in Hampshire were finally able to celebrate 7 year old Edith's 26 month treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.

Edith was diagnosed with Leukaemia in March 2018. She lost her long blonde hair and had to have her head shaved twice. She also had repeated stays in Hospital and underwent regular lumbar punctures which required being put to sleep.

Edith and her family marked the end of of her treatment while they were shielding at home. They had to replace the ringing of the bell on the hospital ward with a makeshift banging of pots and pans on a video call with family and friends.

To recognise her bravery, she's been awarded Cancer Research UK's Star Award.

  • Kathryn and Edith Coombes:

As a special treat, Edith joined a small group of brave young cooks affected by cancer for whom Christmas came early with a pancake masterclass by celebrity chef Jean Christophe Novelli. 

Edith was treated to a virtual cooking class with Jean-Christophe Novelli, making pancakes Credit: Cancer Research UK

The impact of the disease is something Jean Christophe knows all too well after his youngest son Valentino was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma in 2016. 

Baby Valentino was just six-weeks-old, when an MRI scan revealed he had stage- four neuroblastoma – a rare cancer of nerve cells – which had spread around his body. It usually affects under-fives.

The youngster was referred to hospital straight away where he underwent two years of intense treatment, including chemotherapy, with the family frequently travelling back and forth from their home around an hour away.

  • Jean-Christophe Novelli- Celebrity chef:

The four-year-old is now cancer-free and his terrifying experience has left them determined to do everything they can to raise vital awareness of what children with cancer face.

  • What are the Cancer Research UK Star Awards?

Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People is calling on families of young people affected by cancer from across the UK to nominate them in the run up to Christmas. Every eligible child who is nominated receives a unique trophy, a £50 TK Maxx gift card, a t-shirt and a certificate signed by celebrities supporting the campaign. Their siblings also receive a certificate.

The Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People Star Awards are run in partnership with TK Maxx, the biggest corporate supporter of the charity’s work into children’s and young people’s cancers. Since 2004, the retailer has raised over £40 million for Cancer Research UK. Over £37m of this total has supported research to help ensure more children and young people survive with a good quality of life.

Money raised through Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People will be ring fenced to fund research into cancers affecting children and young people (aged 0-24). Donations will be used to fund research to help more 0-24-year-olds survive cancer and do so with a good quality of life.

Cancer Research UK is constantly working to improve the chemotherapy treatments for young people. 

  • Lydia Parkinson and Lewis Chaytor- Researchers:

Edith is now looking forward to a happier Christmas.