A brave little girl is putting on a smile despite facing months of agonising chemotherapy – after she was diagnosed with the rarest form of leukaemia.
Little Ebonie-Rose Musselwhite was diagnosed with the rarest type of blood cancer in children, which affects just two or three per cent of childhood leukaemia sufferers.
The brave five-year-old was diagnosed with Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in February, a condition that is more common in adults.
The brave schoolgirl, from Pound Hill, West Sussex, is undergoing intensive chemotherapy treatment from which she has lost her hair and was left wheelchair bound after she temporarily lost the ability to walk.
Last week she went back into the Royal Marsden Hospital for her latest course of treatment which will require her to be in hospital for at least five weeks.
Mum Christine Jenkins, 36, said: “Ebonie-Rose was just four when she was diagnosed earlier this year.
“At first everyone thought she just had a virus and when we were told that she had PH+ ALL leukaemia our lives were turned upside down.
“It is a rare form of cancer that only between two and five per cent of children with lymphoblastic leukaemia are diagnosed with.
“It is more common in older adults aged 60 and over.
“It is harder to treat and involves intensive courses of medication.
“At first the treatments were tough on her.
“In the first four weeks she became very quiet and inward, which is very unlike Ebonie-Rose.
“She has had many magic sleeps, general anaesthetic, and procedures for bone marrow tests, treatments, pokes, lost her hair and ability to walk for a while which meant she was relying on a wheelchair to move about.
“She is hardcore though and throughout everything she has shown serious strength.
“She smiles and is always really happy whenever friends and family come to see her.”
The proud mum added: “Ebonie-Rose will be in hospital for at least five weeks, it could be up to nine weeks, in which time she will undergo 35 treatments.
“Up until now she must have already had 35 treatments so it has been very intensive.”
On Bank Holiday Monday family and friends put on a fundraiser to raise money for the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
The charity, which relies on public support, grants wishes to seriously and terminally ill children and organises entertainment in hospital and hospices across the UK.
Dad Ben Musselwhite, 35, Ebonie’s grandfather Keith Jenkins and a family friend all had their heads shaved to raise about £2,500 for the charity.
It is Ebonie-Rose’s dream to go to Lapland and visit Father Christmas, so now her grandmother Linda Jenkins is trying to help raise the money to send her and her two sisters to go and see Santa.
Linda added: “It is the rarest form of leukaemia for children.
“It is more common in adults, but is still very rare.
“It’s about two to three per cent of children of her age get this form of leukemia.
“The treatment is just a lot harsher, really.
“Having chemotherapy is horrible anyway, but this is so much worse – she is in for weeks at a time.
“I know it’s going to be ongoing for a long time but she’s putting on a very brave face.
“She’s a beautiful little angel really.”
To donate towards the cause to support Ebonie-Rose please visit https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/ebonie-rose