A brave schoolgirl has celebrated coming to the end of gruelling treatment for life-threatening cancer with a special party surrounded by her family and friends.
Sophie Laidler, nine, was diagnosed with blood cancer leukaemia in October 2016 within hours of visiting Sunderland Royal Hospital’s A&E department after she developed a rash.
The following day, Sophie, of Seaham, was rushed to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle and treatment to rid her body of the leukaemia began.
But the horror of her loving parents Nicola and Paul, her condition deteriorated when she contracted pneumonia and sepsis due to the effect the chemotherapy had had on her immune system.
After she was put on a ventilator and under sedation during Christmas 2016, there were fears that the treatment could only be buying her more time.
However after recovering well and undergoing 11 months of chemotherapy, Sophie, at pupil at St Joseph’s RC Primary in Murton, has completed her course of treatment.
Family and friends joined together to see her ring the bell at the RVI to signal the end of her tough journey.
And now she has enjoyed a celebration party at Shotton Hall in Peterlee, which included entertainment and a three-tier cake as well as a photo booth.
The party’s theme was of a wedding reception, after Sophie’s parents admitted there was a time when they thought they may have to make preparations for a funeral.
Nicola, 32, a student nurse, and dad Paul, 39, an engineer, who have separated, have juggled the tough task of keeping a watch over Sophie as they also cared for her sisters Chloe, 11, and Heidi, Nicola’s son Harrison Scorer, four, and Paul’s daughter Lucy, two, with his wife Vicky.
Nicola said: “She was supposed to ring the bell on Tuesday but unfortunately she had to go to surgery to have her bone marrow checked and a lumber puncture which meant she took bad.
“She was in surgery on Wednesday as well as the doctors said they had to remove her central as that was something that could’ve been making her poorly, but thankfully she was able to ring the bell on Thursday once everything was sorted.
“Sophie’s back to school now and the hospital will monitor how she’s doing but of course she won’t be going as much as she has been.
“She’s happy, healthy and back to normal and hopefully now we can draw a line under everything that’s happened.”
The details of the party was kept under wraps from Sophie to add to the excitement.
“She knew she was having a party but she’d never been to Shotton Hall before so it was a bit more of a surprise for her,” added Nicola.
“She was over the moon when she walked in and said she couldn’t believe we had done all of this for her.
“Even her school teachers have turned up which we really appreciate.”
Nicola added that she would like to thank JK Bouncy Castles for their help in putting on the party.