Girl marks the birthday her family feared she’d never see

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IT was a birthday party her family feared may never happen – but celebrations were in full swing as Brooke Brown toasted her 18th, having spent her childhood battling cancer.

It was an emotional day for parents Gail and Marc who thought they might lose Brooke after she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at the age of five.

Brooke had gruelling chemotherapy treatment and lost all her hair.

Now, those uncertain times are a distant memory for the former Boldon School pupil, who now studies travel and tourism at South Tyneside College.

Brooke, from North Road, Boldon Colliery, said: “I have been off all the medication for nine years and I couldn’t feel better.

“I remember spending a lot of my time as a kid in hospital, but to be honest, it’s just a blur. When I was told the cancer was in remission, it was unreal.

“It’s been great celebrating my 18th with friends and family – and I just wanted to show other people diagnosed with cancer that you can beat it.”

Mum Gail, 39, said: “I can remember when we were told Brooke had leukaemia. You just automatically think the worst. You just didn’t know what the future held for her, but the hospital was great and now, here she is, cancer free and celebrating her 18th birthday.

“When Brooke was little there didn’t seem to be any positive stories about the leukaemia, but we are all really proud of her and I just wanted to let people know it can be beaten.”