Five-year-old cancer sufferer nominated for award

Beth McCaffrey with dad John and mum Karen.

Beth McCaffrey with dad John and mum Karen.

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COURAGEOUS five-year-old Beth McCaffrey is all smiles – despite being in the middle of a gruelling cancer fight.

Brave Beth was diagnosed with leukaemia last summer and was told she needed 27 months of chemotherapy treatment.

But the Southwick youngster never lets her condition get her down and has been hailed a heroine by proud parents John and Karen.

As she endures the arduous treatment, Beth regularly attends lessons and after-school activities at English Martyrs School in Marley Pots.

Mum Karen, 41, who has nominated her in the Child of Courage category for this year’s Pride of Wearside Awards, said: “She is a very wilful child and she just gets on with things.

“She’s lost her hair twice, which is so difficult for a little girl, but she’s coped so well.”

Beth was diagnosed in June last year after experiencing pain in her hip. Subsequent blood tests revealed that she had developed acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Karen said: “Beth’s leukaemia was caught very early. They said if she had been for blood tests the week before, it probably wouldn’t have shown up.

“We were horrified when she was diagnosed. It was the last thing we expected. We had just returned from holiday and she was fit and well.”

Beth was started on a course of chemotherapy which includes being given the medicine every day at home, every month in a port in her chest and every three months in her spine, coupled with fortnightly visits to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

The youngster has been in remission since eight days into the chemotherapy, but she must continue with the full 27 months of treatment as a precautionary measure.

“You have to treat the leukaemia completely. But doctors are really pleased with her progress,” said Karen who gave up her job in victim support so she could be with Beth throughout her treatment.

Beth’s is one of scores of entries for this year’s Pride of Wearside awards.

Now in their seventh year, the awards recognise the grit, determination, kindness and courage of the people that make us proud.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on Wednesday.

Twitter: @sunechokaty