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Brave and trusting Martha is parents’ true Little Star
SHE is her parents’ Little Christmas Star.
Toddler Martha Hanlon is now on the long road to recovery after undergoing 15 general anaesthetics since being diagnosed with leukaemia in April.
Two-year-old Martha, from Headington, Oxford, was found to be suffering with cancer when she fell ill on holiday with her parents.
This month she and her family received a welcome boost with the news that she is to receive a Little Star award for bravery, from the charity Cancer Research UK.
Martha had been feeling under the weather when her parents Eve and Andrew Hanlon took her to Dorset for a family break.
The couple noticed their daughter had tiny pin pricks of bruising in her ear and on her foot. But by the time they arrived at their holiday cottage in Dorset, their daughter’s arms and legs had turned purple.
Mrs Hanlon, 31, who teaches at The Henry Box School, Witney, said: “Doctors there apparently knew straight away what it was, but they didn’t tell us then.
“They spent the day doing tests and when they told us she had leukaemia we were heartbroken and shocked.”
- With mum Eve Hanlon and brother Patrick
Transferred to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, Martha spent a week in hospital, and has so far faced 15 general anaesthetics.
A few months on, the youngster is receiving outpatient maintenance chemotherapy which will continue until June 2015.
Mrs Hanlon and her husband, Andrew, 40, who is deputy headteacher at Larkmead School in Abingdon, also have a son, Patrick, who is now 10 months but was only eight weeks old when Martha was diagnosed.
Both parents have praised the “amazing and caring” doctors they believe saved Martha’s life.
Mrs Hanlon said: “The doctors in Dorset gave Martha a blood transfusion when she was first diagnosed. She was so poorly, but she seemed to come back to life in front of our eyes which is why it is so important that people donate blood.
“We then drove her into the amazing arms of staff at the John Radcliffe Hospital.
“They were so optimistic and caring and gave us so much confidence Martha was going to be alright.”
The JR is one of 21 centres across the UK and Ireland taking part in groundbreaking research co-ordinated by Cancer Research UK’s Children’s Cancer Trials Team.
The trials make innovative new treatments available to children with cancer.
Her mum added: “Martha loves playing at being a doctor. All her dollies are currently ill and need her help!”
The Little Star Awards recognise the bravery and adversity encountered by youngsters facing cancer.
When nominating Martha for the Little Star Award, her mum wrote: “She has been so brave and trusting. It is wonderful for her to have a certificate to say well done for being so brave and joyful.”
Helen Johnstone, Cancer Research UK’s spokesman for Oxfordshire, said: “Martha richly deserves her Little Star Award.”