Brave Wigan girl who inspired community fund-raising effort gets all-clear after cancer battle

This plucky youngster has plenty of reasons to smile as she goes into remission after a 12-month battle with a rare form of cancer.

Saturday, 26th June 2021, 4:55 am

Four-year-old Holly Prince was diagnosed with Wilm’s tumour, a kidney cancer that affects children, exactly one year ago today.

It was devastating news for her parents Mark and Jenny and her two siblings.

The diagnosis was particularly difficult as it came just three months after they were told Holly was one of just 297 people around the world with Bloom syndrome, which can lead to people being short in stature, sensitive to sunlight and having a greater risk of getting cancer.

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Mark Prince with daughter Holly

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It was particularly good news as Holly only had seven rounds of chemotherapy, rather than the 12 planned, as she was struggling to recover between each session.

Dad Mark Prince, from Hindley, said: “We have to pray that the seven is enough to stop it coming back.

“At the end of treatment you are supposed to be celebrating, so it was a weird feeling knowing there was no more chemo and late nights and being up sick. But on the other hand, she hadn’t had the amount she should have.

“We are feeling positive and pray that she has had enough.”

Holly had surgery last year to remove the tumour and her kidney, before the chemotherapy began.

The treatment was made more difficult for the family by coronavirus restrictions, with only one parent being able to go to hospital for each three-day course of chemotherapy.

Holly became ill at Christmas and Mark spent New Year’s Eve at the hospital with her as she received chemotherapy.

The family is already seeing a difference in Holly now the treatment is over.

Mark said: “The chemo has definitely knocked her. We have started seeing the after-effects of the chemo disappear and she is a lot happier and not as emotional, because she was getting upset over little things. She is brilliant.”

Holly is now able to bathe properly, shower and even go swimming after her Hickman line was removed.

She has been able to return to nursery and is looking forward to joining the reception class at Hindley Green Primary School in September.

Mark says it has been an “horrendous” year, but throughout it they have had the support of their family, friends and wider community.

A fund-raising appeal was launched last year to pay for the family to go to a conference in Chicago, where they could meet other people with Bloom syndrome and learn more about it.

Originally the target was £500, but the appeal has now passed a massive £26,000 thanks to the generosity of both loved ones and strangers.

Mark said: “Once it hit £10,000 we said we wouldn’t use all that money, so we want to give it to children’s cancer charities.”

Fund-raising is continuing this weekend, with the Atherton Charity Shield raising money for Holly’s appeal and food bank Fare Share.

Holly took the ball onto the pitch to start the first match last night, which involved Atherton Town, managed by her dad.

Players from Atherton Town and Atherton Colleries will take to the crease at Atherton Cricket Club for another money-spinner on Sunday, August 29.

Donations to Holly's appeal can be made at www.gofundme.com/f/uvz2xm-holly039s-hope

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