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Leukaemia patient is face of charity campaign

Farnborough girl who has overcome leukaemia is now poster girl for TK Maxx clothing scheme

Leah with her mother, Nicole, brother, Jack, father, Simon and brother Alfie

A schoolgirl who is in remission for Leukaemia has been chosen to be the face of the UK's largest charity clothing collection campaign.

Nine-year-old Leah Howard, a student at St Bernadettes Primary School, in Tile Barn Close, Farnborough, was just 18-months-old when she was diagnosed with Leukaemia.

She started a course of chemotherapy treatment but this had to be stopped when she developed an infection.

She was transferred to intensive care and spent nearly four months in hospital, meaning she lost all use of her legs and had to learn to walk again.

Leah eventually finished her treatment in September 2008 and is now the poster girl for Give Up Clothes for Good, a partnership between TK Maxx and Cancer Research UK which raises vital funds for research into children’s cancers.

Leah features in shop windows in all 269 TK Maxx stores nationwide this month as well as 560 Cancer Research UK charity shops.

Her mother, Nicole, said: "She has done a couple of campaigns for Cancer Research in the past and they phoned us up just before Christmas and asked if she was interested in doing it so we talked it through with her and went from there.

"We've taken part in events like Race for Life before. It's really nice, people have been stopping us in the street after recognising her face.

"One of the mums at her school said she saw Leah in one of the magazines she got with her newspaper and another little girl said she saw her picture in TK Maxx.

“Leah is extremely proud to be the face of this year’s campaign, it's lovely. She has been out of treatment for more than five years so she's doing really well."

Since 2004, Give Up Clothes for Good has raised £13.5m for Cancer Research UK, with more than £9m going towards research into children's cancers.

Give Up Clothes for Good is calling on people to clear out their wardrobes and drop off any unwanted items in the permanent clothing donation boxes in TK Maxx stores.

Each bag of clothing or homeware items could be worth up to £30 when resold in Cancer Research UK shops.

Around 1,600 children are diagnosed with cancer in the UK each year, with around 230 of those children diagnosed in the South East of England.

A spokesperson for Cancer Research UK said: "We are very grateful to Leah and her parents for helping to show the difference that research can make.

"The more money we raise, the more research we can carry out and the sooner we can help bring forward the day when all children’s cancer are cured.

"In the 1960s, only around one in four children with cancer were cured, today three in four are cured thanks to research.”

 

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