A SCHOOLGIRL who has had 22 blood transfusions in less than two years to treat a tumour is selflessly raising money to buy toys for other sick kids.
Holly Elder, from Ladybank in Fife, has already raised over £800 to buy goodies for a special toy box at the hospital which youngsters use when they’re feeling poorly.
The five-year-old herself was was diagnosed with an optic pathway glioma brain tumour in June last year after doctors discovered it “by mistake”.
While undergoing an MRI for another condition, Neurofibromatosis – which is linked to the tumour, doctors noticed a mass behind Holly’s eyes and she began chemotherapy soon after.
With almost every session the brave youngster has to receive blood transfusions due to her size and the nature of the drugs which are being used to shrink the non-cancerous tumour in a bid to save her sight.
But not put off by her long stints in hospital, Holly has decided she wants to give the “other boys and girls nice toys to play with so they can get better”.
Holly’s mum, Vicky Donald, says she could not be prouder of her “little fighter” who is receiving treatment at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.
The 28-year-old said: “When I first found out out that Holly had this tumour it was the end of my world as I knew it.
“I didn’t really understand what was going on but I knew her eyesight had been deteriorating for sometime and was kind of glad they had found out why
“She spent the Christmas period in and out of hospital and when she met Santa she told him she wanted all her toys to go to the fairy box on ward 2 for the other children.”
After a little convincing, Holly was persuaded to raise funds instead and the family will hold two ‘fun days’ in the coming months in Ladybank.
She even met two Hearts players when they came to Ward 2 at the Sick Kid’s hospital – getting her picture taken with Jamie Walker and Scott Robinson.
Holly was born with a rare genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis Type 1 which causes tumours to grow along nerves in the body.
As Holly gets older the number of tumours growing will increase however Mrs Donald says her daughter still wants to be a nurse when she grows up.
She said: “She’s spent a lot of her life in hospital. She was born premature and was diagnosed with her NF shortly after.
“Because of that condition she’s had to be monitored quite a lot by specialists because it affects her legs and hips and can lead to brain tumours like this one.
“She’s had around 22 transfusions of various kinds since the chemo started last year but it is working really well. It’s shrunk quite a lot.
“She’s an absolute star because even though she’s not well herself a lot of the time she’s always smiling and genuinely wants to help the other children to by becoming a nurse.”
The primary one pupil at Ladybank Primary School, whose tumour treatment ends in May, was one of just a handful of Scots to be given a special “cancer Barbie” called Ella.
The limited edition dolls are not for sale but were made by Mattel for sick children in America and Canada exclusively with only 50 being given to hospitals in the UK.
Mrs Donald says not only do they want to raise money for toys but also to say a“massive thank you” to the staff on at the hospital.
She said: “The nurses are brilliant. Not only do they there to treat the children but they keep us parents and friends sane too. “They pick us up when we fall. I could never thank them or praise them enough for what they do.
“They fund this special ‘fairy box’ themselves so if we can help take the load off them for a while then it’s been worth all the effort.”
The ‘fairy box’ is for children who are having a rough day. It is dropped off during the night by fairies and the children can help themselves to special toys when they’re really sick.
The first fun day will be held on April 26 at Ladybank Youth Club and a “Zumbathon” will take place the following day to raise funds.
Those wishing to donate can do so here: http://www.justgiving.com/