Courageous Earby teenager launches national Star Awards to celebrate bravery of children with cancer
Amelia Norcoss is launching the Cancer Research UK for Children and Young People Star Award, in partnership with TK Maxx.
Every child nominated receives the accolade, which is backed by a host of famous faces including celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, Nanny McPhee actress Dame Emma Thompson, This Morning’s Dr Ranj and children’s TV favourite Mister Maker.
There is no judging panel because the charity believes every child diagnosed with cancer deserves special recognition. The awards are open to all under-18s who have been diagnosed with the disease in the last five years.
Amelia, who is studying Performing Arts at Preston College, received the award back in 2012.
As well as a star shaped trophy, children also receive a £50 TK Maxx gift card, T-shirt and a certificate signed by the celebrities. Their siblings receive a certificate too.
Amelia, aged 16, became unwell aged three when she suffered several minor ailments for six months, including a skin infection, problems with her ears and was generally under the weather. Following several visits to the GP, Amelia was referred to a paediatrician at Burnley General Hospital.
By this stage, Amelia was also becoming unsteady on her feet. Following a blood test, she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2007.
Amelia was immediately admitted to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital where she began a gruelling course of chemotherapy treatment.
Amelia spent the majority of 2007 and 2008 in hospital either receiving treatment, or because she had developed an infection. She also had to learn to walk again with the help of physiotherapy.
She went on to make a good recovery and enjoyed life at Coates Lane Primary School before attending West Craven High School in Barnoldswick.
Amelia, who has a younger sister called Olivia, is now hoping for a career in entertainment and would love to work on a cruise ship or at Disney.
She can’t recall her cancer treatment. Amelia is fit and well, but her eyesight was impacted by scarring from the chemotherapy.
Amelia said: “Although I can’t remember anything about the hospital visits or having to learn to walk again, I am well aware of just how poorly I was and the stress for the whole family at the time.
“My maternal grandmother was living in Ireland when I was diagnosed and moved to Lancashire to help my parents with all the hospital visits.
“Even though I am proud to call myself a survivor, I only told my class mates at secondary school about my cancer journey when we were in our final year and I needed to prepare a speech for English GCSE. They were all stunned. I didn’t want cancer to define who I am.
“But it’s important for families going through the same ordeal to know that there can be happy endings as I live a very full and happy life.”
Around 190 children are diagnosed with cancer in the North-West every year.
Jane Bullock Cancer Research UK for Children and Young People spokesperson for the North-West said: “Amelia is a real star who went through so much at such a young age.
“Cancer can have a devastating impact on children and young people and many of those who survive may experience serious long-term side effects from their treatment.
“We’re encouraging people to nominate inspirational youngsters for this year’s Star Awards, so we can recognise more children and young people like Amelia.”
More children and young people are surviving cancer than ever before, thanks in large part to the work of Cancer Research UK.
But the disease still claims the lives of around 510 under 25s in the UK every year.
Cancer in children and young people is different to cancer in adults – from the types of cancer, to the impact of treatment. That’s why Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People is supporting dedicated research to improve survival and reduce long-term side effects for youngsters.
The Star Awards are run in partnership with TK Maxx, the biggest corporate supporter of Cancer Research UK’s work into children’s and young people’s cancers.
Since 2004, the retailer has raised over £40m for the charity. Over £37m of this total has supported research to help ensure more children and young people survive cancer with a good quality of life.
To nominate a Star visit cruk.org/starawards.