Cancer girl who won Kate”s heart celebrates “Christmas miracle” after beating rare disease
A sick young girl from Canada, who charmed the Duchess of Cambridge when presenting her with a bouquet of flowers and a heartfelt hug, has been declared cancer-free.
Diamond Marshall, six, who has a rare form of cancer of the adrenal gland, had surgery on Monday to remove a number of tumours. The family were then informed that biopsies showed that for now she is cancer-free.
“Call it a Christmas miracle – it is a miracle,” said Lyall Marshall, Diamond”s father.
“It”s the one we”ve been waiting for a long time. We believe that Diamond is cancer-free as of yesterday,” he told the Calgary Sun.
Dream come true: Six-year-old Diamond Marshall was chosen to present a bouquet of flowers to the Duchess of Cambridge. Kate was said to be thrilled of news that Diamond is currently cancer free
Token: Diamond, pictured before her diagnosis, also gave Catherine a friendship bracelet a their meeting
It marks the end of an emotional yearfor Diamond, who made headlines across the world when she received a royal hug from the Duchess of Cambridge in July at Calgary airport.
The little girl, who had dreamed of meeting Sleeping Beauty”s Princess Aurora at Disneyland, was given the chance to meet a real-life princess thanks to the Children”s Wish Foundation of Canada.
She made a big impact on the Duchess after running up to her and flinging her arms around her neck. She also presented Kate with a colourful bouquet and heart-shaped trinket box.
A St James” Palace spokesman said: “Ipassed the news to Their Royal Highnesses, who asked me to convey how pleased they are to hear the news and their best wishes to Diamond and her family at this happy time.
“They hope for a joyful 2012 for Diamond and her family.”
Mr Marshall, 37, believes the Royal visit helped his daughter to battle the disease.
But Diamond, who lost her mother Memory, 32, to a different cancer four years ago, still faces ongoing treatment.
She faces a bone-marrow transplant and gruelling sessions of chemotherapy in the new year.
“Cancer is a tricky thing and we”re celebrating right now, but she”s still got a long road to recovery for this surgery and then she has a transplant in January,” Mr Marshall said.
“The big one is that bone-marrow transplant.”
Emotional boost: Diamond, who is battling a rare cancer, had always dreamed of meeting a princess
Battle: It was a moment of pure joy for the youngster, who is undergoing chemotherapy for a rare cancer
Adorable: Diamond Marshall at play with her little sister at home in in Canada
Dreams: Diamond wrote a touching letter to the Duchess of Cornwall telling Kate she “looked so pretty”
Diamond was diagnosed with undifferentiated sarcoma, a rare childhood cancer that affects the body”s soft tissues.
Sinceher diagnosis in February, she has been through surgery and spent weeksin and out of hospital, and has lost her hair due to chemotherapy treatment for the tumour on her abdomen.
Her stepmother, Danielle Marshall, 32, told MailOnline how she and her husband made the youngster”s dream of meeting a princess a reality.
Well aware of his daughter”s love for all things princess-related, Mr Marshall had mused: “Maybe she should meet Princess Kate… She will be coming to Calgary, after all.”
The response was overwhelming enthusiasm from Diamond, who wrote a touching letter to the Duchess expressing her desire.
It read: “Dear Princess Kate. My name is Diamond Ann. I am six. I was named after Princess Diana. My Mommy Memory is in heaven with her.
Family support network: Diamond with her father, Lyall, stepmother Danielle and little sister Freya, 23 months
Playing princess: Diamond, pictured before (left) and after she lost her hair, has just finished nursery
“I have cancer. I spend a lot of time at the hospital. I watched you get married from my bed there. You looked pretty.
“I like playing Princess dress up. Myfavourite princess is Aurora. Who is yours. I would really like to meetyou. Do you wait [sic] to meet me too”
Fresh hardship: Diamond”s mother, Memory, died from cancer at the age of just 32, four years ago
A few days later, Mrs Marshall called the Children”s Wish Foundation of Canada to see if there was anything they could do.
“I called them and said, this is going to sound crazy,” she revealed. MrMarshall also sent the organisation a letter of his own.
He wrote: “We realise she may not have the chance to go to Disneyland where shewants to lunch with Princess Aurora of the fabled story Sleeping Beauty.
“Should the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge just happen to swing by fora little visit, it would go a long way for helping her spirits, her surrounding family and friends.
“She is in awe of Princess Kate”s fairytale-like story.”
At the beginning of June the family learned that Diamond had been chosen to present the Duchess”s bouquet – though they were all required to keep the news a secret – even Diamond.
“I”m not sure she managed to keep it a secret from her friends,” admitted Mrs Marshall, who is mother to Diamond”s little sister, Freya, 23 months.
After her meeting with the Royal couple, Diamond said: “She told me she liked the flowers a lot.
RARE CHILDHOOD CANCER
Undifferentiated sarcoma is a very rare childhood cancer that affects the body”s soft connective tissues.
Symptomsinclude pain or swelling in the affected area. If the tumour is particularly large, it can press on other organs, affecting their performance.
According to Cincinnati Children”s Hospital Medical Center, which specialises in treating children with high-risk cancers, no single treatment method appears to be successful alone.
The usual course of action includes surgical removal of the tumour, chemotherapy and sometimes radiation.
Atreatment plan will be based on which part of the body is affected, whether the tumour has spread, and how much of it could be removed in surgery.
“She was as fancy as she looks on the TV.”
Mrs Marshall, who stood close to the little girl throughout the meeting, told how the Duchess complimented Diamond”s dress.
She said Catherine was “so lovely and so gracious. For a little girl who has dreamed of meeting a princess it was a dream come true.”
Now Diamond can enjoy a relaxed Christmas with her family, and regale them with the story of how she met a real princess.
Diamond”s dream was made possible thanks to the Children”s Wish Foundation of Canada.
This year, the Foundation expects to grant 1,000 new wishes and grants nearly three wishes every day.
Each wish is an individual adventure, carefully structured to meet the needs of a particular child and family. For more information visit www.childrenswish.ca