THE mum of a brave Birstall youngster has paid tribute to her “superhero” daughter after she was given the all-clear following four months of cancer treatment.
Eleven-year-old Taegan Pickles was one of the youngest girls in the country to be diagnosed with ovarian germ cell cancer back in December.
After six rounds of pioneering trial-based chemotherapy and having her left ovary and fallopian tube removed, as well as a large grapefruit-sized tumour, Taegan and her family found out on Monday that she is now cancer-free.
Taegan will still have to attend regular appointments at Leeds General Infirmary – where she was treated – to check her bloods and for any lasting damage.
But now, mum Kelly Lister says the family are trying to get back to normal life.
“It’s just brilliant,” said Kelly. “We have just lived in an adrenaline bubble for the past four months, getting through treatment and day-to-day life.
“Now things are starting to settle down a little bit, we’re just starting to realise what the hell we’ve just gone through.
“We’re just trying to calm down a little bit, thinking about what we’re going to do every Monday when we don’t have to go for treatment.
“There was a time when we just seemed to be getting so much bad news at once that we never thought it was going to end, so to get that news that the treatment has worked and she hasn’t needed any follow-up chemotherapy, it’s just brilliant.
“We’ve been a success story and I’m so proud of Taegan and how she has dealt with it all. She is a superhero. There were times when it got bad, she just seemed to pull herself round and I don’t know where her strength came from.”
Taegan, who attends Windmill CofE Junior School in Batley, was diagnosed with the cancer – which affects only 43 children in the UK – on December 4.
She started her first round of the pioneering chemotherapy, only previously used on adults, on December 18. The treatment ended on March 4.
Kelly said: “Taegan was the only child to ever have undergone the trial. There’s always the worry when you’re doing something like that, is she going to be like a guinea pig?
“But we were given the reassurance that wasn’t the case, and because adults had gone through it and it had worked, my thought process was that I just wanted it over and done with as fast as possible.
“If we’d have opted not to go for the trial we’d have still been going through treatment now. We definitely made the right choice.”
Taegan will be going back to school part-time next week and is preparing for a few special holidays over the next few months.
She’ll be heading to Centre Parcs with the Candlelighters charity, who make the trip available for every child who’s had chemotherapy. Then, in August, she is going to Scotland on a sailing holiday with the Leeds Cancer Trust.
Birstall’s Irish Democratic League Club is hosting a fundraising night in May to be able to pay for Taegan and her family to have another trip away.
Kelly said: “We are so grateful to everybody who has fundraised, asked about Taegan, the messages we’ve had and everybody who has donated.
“Everybody has been amazing and the way the community has come together is just fantastic.”