A seven-year-old girl from Waddon who thought she had “stomach ache”, endured three years of gruelling cancer treatment after doctors found a 10cm tumour.
Brodie Burgess is one of 56 children across Greater London who are living with a critical condition and waiting for their wish to be granted through a special charity appeal.
“You hear about these things happening, but you never imagine it’ll be your child,” said Cherie Burgess, 35, Brodie’s Mum.
Brodie was a lively, playful and imaginative four-year-old when she began experiencing stomach pain in late 2019.
Her mum sought a diagnosis for almost a year, visiting three separate hospitals where Brodie was repeatedly diagnosed with constipation.
“Then I noticed a lump on her pelvis,” remembers Cherie.
“I took her to the doctor straight away and said, ‘We’re not leaving until she gets scanned’.”
At Great Ormond Street Hospital, doctors uncovered a 10cm x 7cm tumour in the soft tissue around Brodie’s stomach. She was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma – a rare and aggressive type of cancer which most commonly occurs in childhood.
Brodie immediately began chemotherapy and was in and out of hospital for two years.
“She handled it really well. We could hardly keep her in bed! Whenever she was well enough she was running around the hospital, dancing with the nurses and doing their make-up. Everybody just loved her.”
When Brodie was referred to the charity Make-A-Wish UK, her mum told her to ask for whatever she wanted most in the whole world.
“She just loves toys!” her mum says today. “She’s a girly girl, loves princesses and ponies. She loves playdough, too, and would create all sorts of shapes during her treatment.
“I just wanted her to go wild in a toy store and to feel special – she really deserves it.”
Jason Suckley, the chief executive at Make-A-Wish UK, said: “When a child like Brodie is diagnosed with a critical condition, the joy of childhood is brought to an abrupt end with treatment plans, appointments and worry taking over.
“The power of a wish – in this case, being able to go wild in a toy store – revives a childhood stolen by critical illness, by giving Brodie the chance to feel every bit as special as she truly is.”
Make-A-Wish is seeking to raise £1.2million to clear their “Wish Map” in time for World Wish Day on April 29 to help critically ill children and their families.
“By donating today at http://www.make-a-wish.org.uk/london you have the power to light up the darkness for more children like Brodie,” Suckley said.
Brodie is now in remission and has returned to school full-time. Unfortunately, her cancer has a high chance of reoccurrence, and Brodie’s condition will be monitored regularly for the foreseeable future.
“We just live one day at a time now,” said Cherie . “We make the most of every moment. She’s been through so much, and she’s been so strong. It’s helped me to stay strong too. Now, I just want to see her happy.”
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