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'It's amazing that she is responding to treatment for the first time': Pixie Lott proves inspirational to cancer sufferer Bella, 5, after charity organises special meetingBella Restuccia, five, was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of muscle cancer, in 2011The little girl, who had been failing to respond to intensive treatment, has been given a boost after a surprise visit from her idol, pop star Pixie Lott
17:00 GMT, 5 January 2013
12:55 GMT, 7 January 2013
A brave little girl who listened to her favourite Pixie Lott pop songs to help distract her from her cancer treatment has received a huge boost after meeting her idol in person.
Pixie fan Bella Restuccia, five, has undergone surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy since being diagnosed with a rare form of muscle cancer in 2011, but her condition had continued to deteriorate in spite of the treatment.
Now Bella's condition has begun to improve for the first time, and her thrilled family are putting the change down to a surprise visit from the pop starlet that left the four-year-old 'smiling from ear to ear'.
Inspirational: Bella Restuccia, who was 'smiling from ear to ear' after meeting her idol Pixie Lott, is responding to treatment for the first time
'Meeting Pixie has proved as beneficial as any medicine,' said Bella's mother Hailey Restuccia.
'Bella's smile after she met Pixie was amazing, she was smiling from ear to ear and couldn't quite believe what happened or that she was real.
'It's inspired her so much, and it's amazing that she's responding to treatment for the first time,' the 33-year-old said.
'It's the best news we've had for a long time.'
Thrilled: Singer Pixie Lott, 22, with Bella, her mother Hailey (holding Bella), and the little girl's godmother, Liza
Bella, who celebrated her fifth birthday last month, was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma after her parents discovered a lump the size of a 20 pence piece on her chest.
Courageous: The five-year-old's family say her condition has finally improved after more than a year of gruelling treatment
The diagnosis in 2011 marked the start of a gruelling journey for the youngster, who has since undergone a host of intensive treatment at Oxford's Churchill Hospital.
Despite doctors' efforts Bella's condition continued to deteriorate, prompting her mother to contact charity Rays of Sunshine in a desperate effort to find a welcome distraction for her daughter.
The charity organised a meeting with 22-year-old pop star Pixie, and the 'amazing' treat seems to have marked a turning point for Bella and her family, after her condition finally began to improve.
'Bella has always been a Pixie fan and would even be listening to and singing along with her songs while she was undergoing scans,' said her mother.
'But having the chance to meet her has proven inspirational to her,' said the jewellery designer, who added that she and Bella's musician father Roberto 'never' contemplated the possibility that her daughter might not get better.
'Bella has always been positive about her illness and she has been so brave,' she said.
'Throughout all of this, I have always remained positive. I have never contemplated the fact that she would not get better despite the failures of her to respond to the various treatments.
'Sometimes it has been a struggle, but now the prognosis seems to be good.'
Bella said after her meeting with the singer: 'Pixie is so pretty just like a real princess. It was so fantastic to meet her.'
Idol: Pixie Lott signs her autograph for her brave young fan Bella Restuccia
Pixie Lott herself was so moved by her meeting with Bella she agreed to become an ambassador for Rays of Sunshine, which grants wishes for seriously ill children.
The pop star even named a necklace from her new 'Rock 'n' Rose' jewellery collection after her brave young fan.
'Bella's twinkly, smiley face made my day, and I only hope I can help the charity to spread more beautiful smiles,' the singer said.