A girl who turns 13 today has asked for donations to a children’s cancer charity rather than birthday presents as she battles leukaemia.
Eloise Taylor was forced to return to Great Ormond Street Hospital when the rare blood cancer returned in May after just over a year in remission.
She has received a second bone marrow transplant and has been in isolation since September, with only parents Jay and Tanya and clinical staff able to enter her room. She hopes she will be well enough for her sisters, Erin, eight, and Evie, seven, to visit today.
Eloise, from Dagenham, was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) two days after Christmas 2015, when she was nine.
She was declared cancer-free in April last year after almost three years of treatment that included a bone marrow transplant from Evie, then aged four.
But Eloise felt unwell during a charity-funded family trip to Disney World in Florida in May. Tests at Gosh revealed the cancer, the most common type of leukaemia in children, had returned.
She has already raised more than £1,000 for Children with Cancer UK and hopes the total will be boosted by birthday donations.
She said: “They do lots of research about childhood cancers. I really don’t want any more children to go through what I’m going through.”
Mr Taylor hopes to surprise her with a giant cheque bearing the new total. He said: “Everybody she meets, she just changes their life. Everyone falls in love with her. She is the most humble, inspirational young girl you could meet.
“When she says her prayers at night, she is the last person she prays for. All the other children and doctors and nurses come first. She is constantly thinking of others.”
Eloise is on a radio-immunotherapy clinical trial at Gosh and received bone marrow from an anonymous adult donor.
She has received messages of support from her favourite footballer, West Ham midfielder Mark Noble — who sent her the shirt he wore in the victory against Manchester United and his captain’s armband, pop band Little Mix, Shirley Ballas and Claudia Winkleman from Strictly Come Dancing.There are about 800 ALL diagnoses a year in the UK.
It causes immature white blood cells to be released into the bloodstream, leaving patients vulnerable to infection and anaemic.
All close family members were tested to see if they could donate bone marrow to Eloise but only Evie was a match.
Mr Taylor, 39, and wife Tanya, 34, have raised about £20,000 towards a £100,000 target in case they need to take Eloise to the US for treatment.
Click here for more on Eloise's appeal.