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Ten-year-old thanks docs for saving her life :)

06 December 2006

ALL CLEAR: Brave Charlotte wanted to thank the doctors.

A SCHOOLGIRL who almost died after contracting a rare form of lung cancer is now 'bright as a button' and has sent Christmas wishes to the doctors who saved her life.

Ten-year-old Charlotte Cook turned VIP to officially open a new Cancer Research UK Wishes store, in Orpington High Street. She celebrated five years of being clear of cancer by buying a special thank-you card for doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Her Mum, Debbie, a lunchtime school supervisor, said: "Looking at Charlotte today, you would never know the hell we all went through while she was undergoing treatment. She's bright as a button, doing very well at school and is learning to play the saxophone."

Accompanied by Debbie, her dad Clive, a firefighter, and her brother Geoffrey to the opening, Charlotte was also presented with a cuddly bear which she promptly christened Wishes.

Charlotte, from Ruskin Walk, Bromley, was given a 50-50 chance of survival when she was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of lung cancer in 1999.

Doctors discovered she had a pleuropulmonary blastoma pressing on her lung, a tumour so rare it had not been seen at Great Ormond Street for more than six years.

Charlotte underwent six months of chemotherapy but, two months after returning to school in January 2001, another tumour was discovered. This one was the size of a man's fist and went through her diaphragm and liver and stuck to her spine and heart.

However, after four months of intensive therapy, followed by a three-hour operation and then 20 days of radiotherapy, Charlotte was finally given the all clear.

Mum Debbie added: "Five years of being clear of cancer is quite a milestone for us all. I can't help but think that without the research funded by Cancer Research UK she may not be around today."

l For information on volunteering at the new Cancer Research UK Wishes shop, call shop manager Pam Yarrow on 01689 839 959 or visit: www.wishes.co.uk/howtohelp.

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