Tears of joy as brave Jarrow schoolgirl finally collects Child of Courage Award at Best of South Tyneside

A brave South Tyneside girl – who missed out on collecting an award because she was so poorly – has finally had her moment in the spotlight.

Kayleigh's big moment as she collects her Child of Courage trophy.
Kayleigh's big moment as she collects her Child of Courage trophy.

Kayleigh Brennan was gutted in 2019 when she won a Child of Courage trophy but couldn’t go to the awards night. She was severely ill in her fight with leukaemia and was confined to a hospital bed.

And this time, she personally collected the honour as a cheering audience clapped the 10-year-old all the way to the stage.

The Child of Courage Award winners with Mandy Morris (left) of South Tyneside College.

Then, when she got back to the table where her family was waiting for her, she wept tears of joy. Her three-year wait to enjoy the awards night was finally over.

It was a moment to savour and mum Lindsay, 43, said: “It was absolutely fantastic. She was blown away after missing the 2019 awards. She was not expecting all the applause and the reaction she got from all those people.

"When she got on the stage, her face said it all and when she came back to the table she started crying happy tears. It was a very emotional moment and it was so worth the wait.”

Back in 2019, Kayleigh missed out on collecting the trophy because she was so ill after relapsing in her struggle with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. She had won the 2019 award after judges heard how she had won her fight with ALL.

Child of Courage Award winner Kayleigh Brennan,

But in the weeks before the 2019 ceremony, doctors gave the family the devastating news that the leukaemia had returned. She was back in a hospital bed at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle while the awards were taking place.

Lindsay said: “She couldn’t walk, she couldn’t get out of bed. She got pancreatitis. She was on morphine drips and it was all from the side effects of chemotherapy.

"We took her award to her in hospital that year but she was not in any frame of mind to celebrate back then. She was very poorly and she ended up being in hospital for five months.

Back to 2017 when was in remission. Here she is with parents Rob and Lindsay, and brother Daniel.

"She was blown away,” said mum. “She still has a lot of side effects from the chemo. She has to see a neuro psychologist because of the effects of chemo to her brain and she still struggles with walking.

"But she was buzzing the morning after she won.”

Kayleigh could not wait to get to school and tell her friends at St Mary’s RC Primary School in Jarrow that she had won.

Kayleigh was one of many incredible winners stories and the Best of South Tyneside Awards and we have many more to share with you.

Three-year-old Kayleigh who was being treated for leukaemia, pictured in 2016.

Watch out for a supplement – filled with interviews and more photos from the awards finale – in your Gazette on Thursday, May 5.

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