Sophie an inspiration

Sophie Burchill
Sophie Burchill

WHEN Sophie Burchill’s parents were visiting her in hospital in Sheffield, they were “shocked and saddened” to discover how many children and young people suffer from brain tumours.

WHEN Sophie Burchill’s parents were visiting her in hospital in Sheffield, they were “shocked and saddened” to discover how many children and young people suffer from brain tumours.

Sophie, now two and a half, is recovering after her own diagnosis at the age of 11 months and her mum and dad are doing their bit to help youngsters who find themselves in a similar situation.

Joined by family and friends, they are launching a charity in their daughter’s name – Sophie’s Wish – to raise money for brain tumour charities. It will be at a fun day at St Thomas’s Church Centre in Crookes on Saturday.

Pete Burchill, aged 35, who lives with Abigail, aged 34, in Hillsborough, said: “Although Sophie is in good health for the time being, many others have not been so lucky. She’s undergone two life-saving brain operations and 16 months of chemotherapy.

“During her time in hospital, we were shocked and saddened to discover how common brain tumours are in children and young people.

“We have witnessed first-hand the effects of this condition and seen many of Sophie’s hospital friends lose their lives to this cancer that can strike so quickly and indiscriminately.”

Sophie has been fighting her own brain tumour at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. She had been suffering with vomiting and a stiff neck and various conditions were suggested as the cause before her condition deteriorated. Meningitis was investigated but dismissed before a CT scan found a tumour in her brain that required emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on the fluid around her brain.

Sophie’s condition was stabilised but four days later she had to return to theatre for a 14-hour procedure to remove a cancerous mass.

The tumour was described by doctors as “aggressive”, which resulted in the need for chemotherapy.

Pete and Abigal have been amazed at how well their daughter has bounced back after each round of treatment, despite losing her hair, being fed through a tube and being in a lot of pain.

“During this whole process she has grown up from a baby into an active toddler,” said Pete. “Towards the end of her time in hospital she was running up and down the ward, her drip stand trailing behind her! It’s amazing how resilient she has been.

“It’s so lovely now to see her character developing – her confidence and energy levels have increased since the end of the treatment and we’re just so pleased that she is now finally through it.”

Sophie has shown so much resilience and bravery that she won a Little Stars Award from Cancer Research UK.

Saturday’s fun day runs from 2pm to 4pm and includes a bouncy castle, crafts, face-painting, activities for babies and food stalls.

Proceeds will go to Brain Tumour Research, a group of 18 brain tumour charities and a number of umbrella groups, including Sophie’s Wish.

Visit www.sophieswish.org.uk