The elated family of a schoolgirl who has spent more than two years of her life battling an aggressive form of cancer are celebrating after being told she is now in remission.
Little ‘Princess’ Kayleigh Brennan was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in May 2015 – aged only three.
She has spent the past two and a half years in and out of Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, where she has been undergoing treatment to help her fight the disease.
On Tuesday, following her latest treatment, she underwent a bone marrow test, which came back clear.
It meant the youngster – now five – was able to ring the bell she and her family had seen so many other children battling cancer ring before her.
For mum Lindsey and dad Rob it was an emotional moment as their daughter grabbed the rope to ring the bell signalling the end of her treatment and that her cancer was in remission.
It has been such an emotional rollercoaster that we’ve been on.Lindsay Brennan
She was watched by nurses from the ward where she had been cared for.
Lindsey, 39, from Australia Grove, South Shields, said: “At the moment I still feel like I am living in a bubble. It’s all quite scary as we don’t know what happens next – our biggest hurdle now is to make sure it never comes back. They told us at the start it would be a long process but when it’s your child who is sick, it feels like it has been an eternity.
“They had an inkling Kayleigh was in remission when they carried out the last bone marrow test, but until they actually say it, it’s just hard to take in.
“It has been such an emotional rollercoaster that we’ve been on.
“They say it normally takes for girls around two years, but there were a lot of ups and downs with Kayleigh at the start of the treatment, which delayed the start of it.”
Mrs Brennan, who had to give up her job as a WeightWatchers leader to care for her daughter full time, added: “When she rang that bell in the hospital, I was just a mess. I knew it was coming as we’ve seen others do it, but you just couldn’t hold it back.”
Kayleigh – who has an older brother Daniel, 13 – was diagnosed with leukaemia after her worried parents took her to a health walk-in centre at Easter.
They were advised to take her to the family’s GP in Wenlock Road, South Shields, as they believed she might be anaemic and would need blood tests.
However, the family’s GP told them to take her straight to South Tyneside Hospital’s accident and emergency department.
She added: “We still have another six months of check- ups and she still has her lines in – where medication was injected – which will be taken out in three months. But in six months, if everything goes to plan, she will be given her immunisation needles.
“It has been hard, as she is such a young age that I don’t think she really understands what is going on or what has been happening.
“We, as families, have to rely on the teenagers on the ward who are also going through the same thing to let us know how they are feeling to give us some understanding as to how our children might have been feeling.”
The family are now looking forward to enjoying a short break, thanks to the Make A Wish Foundation.
Next year, the family are planning to take Disney Princess fan Kayleigh to Disney World, in Florida.
The dream trip for the youngster has been made possible thanks to the fundraising efforts of family and friends. From day one, she set her heart on meeting Snow White and Frozen’s Elsa, among others.
Mrs Brennan said: “I just want to take this chance to say thank you to everyone who has supported us on the journey. It has meant so much to us.”
The family have been supported by CLIC Sargent – a children’s cancer charity – and say the support they have received since Kayleigh’s diagnosis has been “invaluable.”
For details on the CLIC Sargent, visit www.clicsargent.org.uk.