Parents set to skydive to thank Sheffield Children’s Hospital for the care their daughter is receiving for cancer

20th March 2020

Parents Leah and Andy are set to skydive from 15,000ft to express their gratitude to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, which is currently treating their teenage daughter for cancer.

14-year-old Lillie-Mae Wood discovered a lump at the base of her neck in November 2019.

Mum Leah took her to the GP the next day, who as a precaution, referred the teenager to have an ultrasound scan at their local hospital.

Leah recalls: “Lillie had an ultrasound scan and just a couple of hours later, our GP phoned to tell us that they had found something. He couldn’t tell us what it was, only that we needed to be referred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital as soon as possible.”

Lillie-Mae then had an ultrasound, chest x-ray and CT scan at Sheffield Children’s before a biopsy gave a final diagnosis of Hodgkin Lymphoma shortly before Christmas.

Stepfather Andy added: “We were all devastated and shocked. They had advised us that Hodgkin Lymphoma was the worst-case scenario, but Lillie didn’t seem ill. She had no other symptoms whatsoever; we just couldn’t believe she had cancer.”

According to the NHS, Hodgkin Lymphoma is an uncommon cancer that develops in the lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels and glands in the immune system spreading throughout the body. It is said to affect around 60 children every year in the UK.

Further scans revealed Lillie had the cancer in four places of her body and she began having chemotherapy treatment four times a week at Sheffield Children’s Hospital early last month, with her treatment expected to be completed in April.

“The staff have been amazing. They make you feel at ease, keep you informed all the time and nothing is too much trouble for them. It’s all you can ask as a parent.” Leah added.

To say thank you for the care she received, Lillie-Mae’s family are now fundraising for The Children’s Hospital Charity’s appeal to transform the Cancer and Leukaemia ward into a brighter and refreshed space.

Under the plans, more private patient bedrooms with en-suite facilities would be created, giving the opportunity for more patients for a place to make their own and increase the space for a parent to sleep alongside them. There will also be a dedicated space for older patients like Lillie-Mae.

The family have already seen the difference new facilities could make, having recently spent a night in the one of the three new wards at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Leah said: “The rooms are amazing, they have their own bathroom and cupboards with space and a bed for parents. Facilities like this on the Cancer ward would be brilliant, it would be a much nicer experience for everyone.

Parenting team Leah and Andy are supporting the appeal by tandem skydiving from 15,000ft at The Children’s Hospital Charity’s skydive day in September.

Leah added: “We’ve never done anything like this before. It’s one of those things where the idea sounds good, but I’m scared of heights! But Lillie has been so brave during her treatment, so we wanted to do something scary to show her just how proud we are.

Andy continued: “I can’t wait. Lillie was shocked when we told her we were planning on doing it. It’s fair to say she didn’t believe us, but she can’t wait to come and watch.”

Just eight hours after launching their fundraising page, the pair exceeded their initial target and have now raised more than £2,225.

“The Children’s Hospital Charity do a brilliant job. They have made it so easy for us to fundraise and it’s such a worthy cause. We can’t thank everyone enough for donating, it’s given us the motivation to up our target and we hope to raise as much as possible for Sheffield Children’s Hospital.”

Freya Kingswood, Events Fundraising Assistant at The Children’s Hospital Charity added: “It is heart-warming to hear about Leah and Andy’s challenge to say thank you for the care Lille-Mae continues to receive at our hospital.

“We wish Lillie-Mae all the best in her treatment. Every penny raised from their skydive will help transform the Cancer and Leukaemia ward at Sheffield Children’s Hospital for generations of young patients to come.”

The Children’s Hospital Charity have limited places available for the tandem skydive at Skydive Hibaldstow in North Lincolnshire on Sunday 18th April. To secure your place, visit www.tchc.org.uk/events/

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