A FIVE-YEAR-OLD Berwick girl has won a regional award for her bravery in fighting off leukaemia.
Sophia Evans was presented with a Brave Hearts Children of Courage Award at a ceremony held at St James’ Park in Newcastle.
She was one of 36 inspirational youngsters from across the north east who were recognised for their bravery in the face of serious illness, overcoming challenges most people of their age would never be faced with.
Sophia, a Class 2 pupil at Holy Trinity First School, was diagnosed with leukaemia in July 2010 and spent two years enduring bouts of chemotherapy and steroid treatment.
She was finally given the all clear in September, although she will still face regular visits to Newcastle RVI for check ups for some time yet.
“She had a great time at the awards ceremony,” said her accountant dad, Patrick, of Meadow Grange. “She was picked up by a stretch limo with bright pink seats at our home in Berwick and driven all the way down to Newcastle which she absolutely loved.”
Patrick and his wife, Caroline, were living in Jersey when they found out Sophia had leukaemia. They had been back in Berwick on holiday when she fell ill and 24 hours later she was diagnosed.
To complicate matters even further, the diagnosis came just two days after Caroline found out she was pregnant with their second child, Briony.
The early weeks and months of treatment, which saw Sophia’s hair falling out in clumps, was hard to take. Tiring trips down the A1 five days a week to the RVI made it tough for the whole family.
“It knocked her for six at times but she never moaned or complained,” said Caroline, a former dental nurse.
“She’s doing really well now that she’s completed her treatment and is off the medication
“We’ve noticed that she’s now absolutely full of energy compared to what she was like before which has been lovely to see.
“It will take another six months to get her immune system working the way it should but she’s much better.”
The awards were hosted by BBC Look North presenter Carol Malia who was joined by Newcastle United players Mike Williamson and Romain Amalfitano to present all the winners with gifts.
Sophia chose a silver cross Beatrix Potter dolls pram. She was also presented with a signed Cheryl Cole picture.
The Brave Heart Award is actually the second prize Sophia has won.
In September she won a trip to EuroDisney, near Paris, courtesy of leukaemia charity The Alternative Hair Show.
Earlier this year the family helped raise over £1,700 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and The Great North Children’s Hospital (part of the RVI) by supporting cricket legend Sir Ian Botham on the Newcastle leg of Beefy’s Great British Walk.