A Tayside youngster has been chosen to launch a special awards scheme that recognises the courage of Scottish youngsters with cancer.
Leva Stewart, who turns three on December 1, has battled cancer and endured surgery and chemotherapy to treat a 10cm tumour.
Now Leva, from Blackford, Perthshire, has received Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens Star Award for showing remarkable courage during a tough fight back to health.
Her parents Roxanne Hausrath, 30, and Adam Stewart, 30, are extremely proud of her. Roxanne said: “Leva is our star, remaining incredibly bright, bubbly, confident and caring through everything.
“Our lives changed overnight when Leva was diagnosed with cancer and we had no control over that.
“Leva’s third birthday will be special. It will be a chance to get everyone together who has supported us through the most traumatic year of our lives and say thank you.
“We’ve had amazing support from friends, family and Leva’s care in hospital has been outstanding.”
Dental nurse Roxanne recalls vividly the moment their lives were turned upside down on April Leva 26 this year after an ultrasound scan at Ninewells Hospital revealed what medics suspected was a tumour in Leva’s abdomen.
“That was the first big shock,” she said. “We’d taken Leva to the doctor as her tummy had swollen up and was hurting her.
“She’d even started holding her tummy to support it like a pregnant woman would do when she went to pick something up.
“I’d noticed the veins in her tummy were really extended and blue which raised alarm bells for me too.”
Leva was sent to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh for more tests, where results showed she had rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer which affects particular types of muscle cells.
After undergoing chemotherapy and surgery Leva is now thriving and with just one cycle of chemotherapy to go, a recent scan has revealed no evidence of cancer in her body.
Since 2004, TK Maxx has raised more than £32 million for Cancer Research UK’s work through stock and cash donations. Of this, more than £28 million is supporting pioneering research into children’s cancers specifically, and £4 million supporting general cancer research.
Lisa Adams, spokeswoman for Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens in Scotland, said: “The Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens Star Awards in partnership with TK Maxx recognises young people who have survived or are currently being treated for cancer.
“Our mission is to fund research to find new, better and kinder treatments for children and young people diagnosed with cancer in Scotland, and across the UK.
“We want to bring forward the day when no young person dies of the disease, and ensure that those who survive, do so with a good quality of life.
“So we’re calling on people across Scotland to nominate inspirational youngsters for this year’s Star Awards so that we can recognise their incredible courage.”