THE family of a ten-year-old girl battling leukaemia plan hope to raise £3,000 for Basildon Hospital as a gesture of thanks for the expert, life-changing care from medical staff.

Sadie Ford, ten, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in May and is being treated at Basildon and Great Ormond Street hospitals.

The former Wickford Juniors schoolgirl is undergoing chemotherapy and has already lost her hair and suffered major side effects from the harsh treatments.

Mum Jessica Ford, 35, of Haslemere, Wickford, said: “Weeks before she was diagnosed she was getting pains in her leg, she’s got Asperger’s and hypersensitivity as well so I thought she just didn’t want to go to school. In the mend my mum said you should take her to the doctors as she had been sent home from school in a lot of discomfort.”

In the weeks of tests and referrals that followed Sadie, who also has Asperger’s Syndrome, lost lots of weight and continued to be in pain.

Jessica added: “I just wanted to get to the bottom of it, she was never a poorly child and she had lost weight as well, she put on a pair of jeans that didn’t fit her a few weeks before and they were massive. I called the doctor again and they said you better come in, she was admitted into hospital and we’ve never left,” said Jessica, who has given up her job as a full time carer to look after Sadie.

Reflecting on the moment the family discovered Sadie had cancer, Jessica said: “We were up at Great Ormond Street and making all sorts of decisions about treatment, they said they had suspicions it was cancer but they couldn’t be sure.

“I was still hoping it wasn’t, I thought it would be a big mistake even when we were sitting in the lion ward which is a cancer unit, I just didn’t want to believe it.

“They called me and my husband in and they said she had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and it was in her bone marrow.

“I thought she was going to die, lose her hair, I had always told her, her Asperger’s would be the hardest thing she had to face.

“I just wanted my mum, my husband stayed strong for me but I couldn’t stop crying and then I started looking back on every cough or cold she had, thinking was that a sign, did I do enough for her.

“It still doesn’t stay in my head how a 10-year-old can be so poorly.

“It’s horrible and I still think I’m going to get a letter through saying they’ve made a mistake.”

Six months on and Sadie is in and out of hospital for treatment and tests.

Jessica said: “She’s had chemotherapy and everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.

“The port in her chest became infected, she lost her hair and has had problems with her feeding tube and vomiting but she copes by putting a brave face on.

“We’re on the fourth round of chemo now and there’s more to come as well as bone marrow tests.

“It just turns your whole world on its head, it just puts everything on hold and you can’t see an end to it.”

Echo: Fundraising together- Nanny Donna Taylor, Sadie, Jessica and Lily Ford

Fundraising together- Nanny Donna Taylor, Sadie, Jessica and Lily Ford 

Determined to thank Basildon Hospital, the Ford family including Sadie’s dad Sam, 29, and sister Lily, seven, are raising money for the oncology ward.

Jessica said: “Usually when you hear someone has cancer you think, not another one and you never think it will be a child.

“Until it happens to yourself you just don’t think it’s going to happen to you.

“Basildon Hospital has been a lifesaver and when Sadie goes in she has a really low immune system and we are put into a side room which has its own kitchen and bathroom.

“The nurses are incredible and are amazing with Sadie.

“The room needs a lick of paint and it would be lovely to raise some money to make the room nicer for families.

“When you are in that room, your child is really sick and you can be in and out of there over a number of days.

“We sat down with Sadie and she said she wants the money to buy the things the hospital needs for the room so we’re hoping to raise enough for new blinds, toiletry bags, cushions, juts to make people more comfortable.”

The family also need help with transport to and from Great Ormond Street with Jessica struggling to drive Sadie when she is so unwell and public transport not an option when Sadie needs to be in isolation.

The family hope to raise £3,000. To donate visit: https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/donna-taylor

Helen Mattock, capital accountant at Basildon Hospital, said: “We are delighted that Sadie and her family have had been pleased with the care she has received and feel inspired to give something back to our children’s ward. Our Polly Parrot Appeal raises money for children’s services at the hospital and is always grateful for generous donations and we look forward to discussing any ideas the Fords have.”

Anyone who wants to raise funds for the Polly Parrot Appeal or any ward or department within the Trust, can contact our charity office for more information on 01268 524900 ext 2894 or email charity@btuh.nhs.uk.