Leeds cancer girl honoured

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A courageous Leeds girl who has spent most of her life battling against leukaemia is finally in remission – and has received special recognition for her bravery.

Nine-year-old Marianne Shackleton was just four when she diagnosed with

acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a rare type of cancer which attacks the body's bone marrow.

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The youngster, from Rawdon, endured more than two years of chemotherapy at St James's Hospital in Leeds.

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However, when the cancer returned in September 2009, she had to undergo a bone marrow transplant a few months later.

Now, 10 months after the transplant, Marianne is thriving and has been named a Cancer Research Little Star, an award which celebrates the courage of children diagnosed with the disease.

Proud mum Bernadette, 41, said: "Marianne was over the moon when she found out she'd been nominated and it's so brilliant to see her getting back to her usual self.

"I can honestly say I have never heard her complain, despite everything she has been through. She's such a sweet girl and really deserves the award."

Bernadette, who also has a son, Ed, aged eight, says it was her 'motherly instincts' that told her something was seriously wrong with Marianne.

"She was weak, pale and was constantly under the weather," she added.

"In the beginning, the doctors put it down to viruses so when the tests revealed leukaemia, it was devastating.

"The chemotherapy started straight away and we spent the next couple of years in and out of hospital.

"But Marianne just got on with it. She was amazing."

After her treatment ended, Marianne went into remission but when the cancer came back, doctors decided a bone marrow transplant was the way forward.

Bernadette explained: "Marianne was so poorly afterwards and spent three months in hospital recovering.

"Some of the side effects were awful.

"So when a mum of one of the other patients we met nominated her for the award and she was thrilled."

All nominees receive a Little Star trophy, a T-shirt and bear, as well as a certificate signed by various celebrities.

Marianne, who was among the first 300 nominees, also received a 50 voucher for high-street store TK Maxx.

Leeds Digital Hub, partnership between Yorkshire Post and Leeds Beckett University. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

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