Brave tot Darcie Kay is all smiles – after beating seven tumours to be declared cancer free for the first time in her life.
The nine-month-old is believed to be the only child in Britain diagnosed with a rare form of cancer – infantile fibrosarcoma – when she was just three weeks old.
Medics found a staggering seven tumours growing in the newborn’s body and believe the abnormalities were there from birth.
Fragile Darcie was forced to undergo an operation and seven months of gruelling chemotherapy, which almost killed her when she reacted badly to the drugs.
But touchingly, the youngster beamed with smiles throughout the painful cancer-killing treatment – because she had never known any different.
The relieved family have now been told little Darcie is free from cancer for the first time in her short life.
Her relieved parents Natalie, 30, and Michael, 32, yesterday (Tues) said their smiling daughter had beaten the illness thanks to incredible natural positivity.
Natalie, a mother-of-four, from Canterbury, Kent, said: “Darcie has been absolutely amazing throughout her whole illness.
“People in the hospital would often comment that she hardly ever cried and she was always smiling.
“It was a real comfort for Michael and I to see her smiling – it kept us going. Darcie is such a happy little girl.
“I cannot put in to words how happy I am that Darcie has been given the all clear. Only now have I started to feel hopeful.
“Now we can hopefully have a normal family life and look forward to Darcie’s first birthday.
“Darcie’s illness has been really hard for the whole family. She has missed out on family events as we had to make sure she did not catch anything as her immune system was low.
“My sister even had to miss my 30th birthday as she had a cold sore and could not be near Darcie.”
Darcie was born a healthy baby weighing 8lbs 2oz on January 7 this year.
But Natalie soon noticed Darcie was not feeding properly and when she was just three weeks old she felt a lump on her back.
Natalie and Michael rushed Darcie to the GP and she was referred to the William Harvey Hospital in Kent.
Doctors discovered she had a 7.5cm long tumour growing from the tenth rib on the right-hand side of her back.
An ultrasound showed the tumour had blood vessels and Natalie and Michael were told it was cancerous.
Darcie needed drastic surgery on August 31 at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London to remove the tumour along with three ribs and part of her right lung.
Doctors also found six tumours in Darcie’s lungs, but luckily the chemotherapy, which had shrunk the main tumour to 2cm before the operation, killed them.
Darcie needed nine cycles of chemotherapy starting on March 13 and had to have blood transfusions to help with her anaemia.
In May Darcie started bleeding from her nose and was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Specialist found she was having an adverse reaction to the chemotherapy which had poisoned her liver and she nearly died from hepatic veno-occlusive disease.
But smiley Darcie pulled through, her last chemotherapy session on October 18 and her latest test have all come back clear.
She has now tentatively been given the all-clear by medics although she will still have to be monitored with three-monthly check-ups.
Healthy Darcie is looking forward to playing with her older brothers ten-year-old Kyran, Ashton, 6, and Ollie, 3.
But brave Darcie pulled through and last week she had her last session of chemotherapy and doctors have cautiously giving her the all-clear.
Natalie said: “As soon as I felt the lump I knew it was not right. Darcie was as white a chalk.
“When you hear the word cancer you think death. I thought ‘what have I done to deserve this?’
“If I could have died in that room I would have. I wanted a little girl so much after having three boys so I was devastated when I found out something was wrong with Darcie.
“I knew it was serious. After we found out we put Darcie in the car and Michael and I stood outside while I cried and cried.
“I pleaded with the doctors to save my little girl. The consultant oncologist Dr Tanzina Choudhury was brilliant and said ‘my aim is to save her’, and she has worked a miracle.
“During Darcie’s treatment I planned her funeral in my head. I knew which songs she was going to have and I started planning what I would say.
“That is all I could do. I did not think there would be an end.”
She added: “It felt as if we signed over the care of our little girl to the hospital and we relied on poison to keep her healthy. But now we have her back.”