Izzy’s bravery inspires challenge

Kelly Touhey with daughter Izzy
Kelly Touhey with daughter Izzy

When Kelly Touhey took her daughter Isabelle to a GP with the symptoms of a cold, she had no inkling of the ordeal that lay ahead.

For the routine appointment led to the little girl being diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer, neuroblastoma.

Izzy on her third birthday in 2012, shortly after starting chemotherapy.

Izzy on her third birthday in 2012, shortly after starting chemotherapy.

But the four-year-old from Ecclesfield - known as Izzy to all her family and friends - has since managed to beat the disease and stay cancer-free for a year, and is looking forward to starting school in September.

Kelly, 36, said her daughter was ‘absolutely full of life’.

“To look at her you would never know what she’d been through,” she added.

Izzy was diagnosed aged two, after her GP referred her to Sheffield Children’s Hospital for a precautionary chest X-ray.

It revealed a walnut-sized tumour in her chest cavity, part of which was removed by surgery. But the rest of the growth was sitting on her spinal cord, so Izzy had to endure chemotherapy to destroy the cancer cells.

Radiotherapy was also needed - which the brave youngster managed to undergo without anaesthetic every day for three weeks.

Izzy’s aunt Lindsay Garfitt, 29, said her niece had ‘taken everything in her stride’, adding: “You just have to trust the doctors and nurses and hope the treatment works, and clearly it did – hopefully now she has beaten it for good.”

In less than two months Izzy will be joining big sister Lia, nine, as a pupil at Ecclesfield Primary, after making good progress at Lilypad Nursery on Whitley Lane.

Her family have launched a fundraising campaign to thank the children’s hospital and Weston Park Hospital where she was treated.

“The challenge will continue for 267 days, the amount of time that Izzy was undergoing treatment,” said Kelly.

“We are hoping people will get involved to walk, run, cycle or swim a collective 1,335 miles, five miles for every day Izzy had treatment, and that people will sponsor the challenge overall.”

The activities started with a family friend completing the first mile on a zip wire in Wales. Izzy’s father Scott, 37, will be cycling and her grandparents will be walking from Ecclesfield to Weston Park Hospital.

n Visit Team Izzy Big Thank You blog to find out more.