Wigan schoolgirl who overcame leukaemia urges people to sign up for charity's challenge

A schoolgirl who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of four is urging people to carry on the fight against the disease.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 7:00 am

Ellie Rieveley was successfully treated for leukaemia and made a great recovery, now loving being back at school with her friends.

The eight-year-old and her family are now calling on people to help fight the disease by signing up for Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life at Home.

They can pledge to run, walk or jog 5km and raise money to help scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, helping to save more lives.

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Ellie is urging people to take part in Race For Life At Home

Ellie’s mum Leanne, from Astley, said: “Ellie faced a tough few years and went through a lot at such a young age. But she’s doing so well now. It’s such a relief to see her leading a normal life.

“We hope the people of Wigan will get behind Race for Life at Home and help raise funds for research to develop gentler and more effective treatments for cancer for people like Ellie.”

Ellie began to feel poorly during her first term in the reception class of St Stephen’s Primary School in 2016, when she was four. Her high temperature and exhaustion were put down to a virus by a GP.

When Leanne spotted a huge black bruise on Ellie’s knee and other purple marks, she took to Google and was anxious Ellie may have blood poisoning.

Ellie while having treatment for leukaemia

After being told there was a three-week wait for a blood test at their local health practice, Leanne insisted dad Ben take Ellie to A&E.

Ellie was immediately referred to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where she had a blood transfusion. Within 24 hours her parents were told she had acute lymphoid leukaemia and needed chemotherapy treatment.

The steroids Ellie was placed on had a huge impact, making her bubbly personality disappear and she became very withdrawn and refused to chat.

Ellie was in hospital for more than a month, but was allowed home for her mum’s 40th birthday and amazed everyone by singing Happy Birthday after weeks of not wanting to communicate.

The youngster lost her hair twice during treatment and missed most of reception and year one at school.

Ellie was guest of honour at Race for Life at Pennington Flash in 2019.

She now needs check-ups every four months and has made an amazing recovery, enjoying being back at school with her friends.

It is this experience that inspired her family to back Cancer Research UK’s Race For Life At Home event.

The charity is predicting a £300m drop in income caused by the coronavirus pandemic over the next three years and its 400 mass-participation Race For Life events across the UK were cancelled last year.

As the country emerges from lockdown, this year’s Race for Life events, which were scheduled for this spring and early summer, have also now been postponed.

Race For Life At Home will feature a live broadcast on the Cancer Research UK Race for Life Facebook and Race for Life Instagram pages on Saturday, April 24, with an energiser from a fitness expert and inspirational messages of support from people who have experienced cancer.

Participants are then asked to run, walk or jog 5km. Photographs and videos can be shared on social media using #RaceatHome

Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK’s spokesman for Greater Manchester, said: “The truth is, Covid-19 has slowed us down.  

“But we will never stop and we are absolutely determined to continue to create better cancer treatments for tomorrow. Even though we have to Race for Life differently this spring, nothing is going to stop us running, walking or jogging 5K to raise money to help beat cancer.

“That’s why we need as many people as possible across the North West to sign up to Race for Life at Home this April, to stand united and do something extraordinary to help beat cancer.

“We’re constantly monitoring the Covid-19 situation and are working hard to move our mass participation Race for Life events to the autumn and to make sure they can go ahead safely and with all necessary Covid-19 guidelines in place.

“We’d love to invite as many people as possible to Race for Life at Home this spring, then physically come together in the autumn to join us for Race for Life Wigan or Race for Life Leigh.”

Sign up to Race for Life at Home this April at raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.

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