Five-year-old Alice Icke is like any other youngster who enjoys going to school and playing with her friends.
But things were very different this time last year after her parents, Andrew and Jane, had been dealt the devastating news that their little girl had kidney cancer.
The diagnosis in March 2014 came after they noticed Alice’s stomach had become swollen.
Jane said: “At that moment our world fell apart. It was confirmed that Alice had a Wilms tumour around 10cm in length.
“Alice began a six-week course of chemotherapy almost straight away followed by surgery lasting six hours in May 2014.
“The operation to remove the tumour from her kidney was a success.
“Alice amazed us all with her recovery and was out of hospital in a couple of days sporting a very neat scar.”
Throughout 2014 Alice endured major surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. She finished her treatment in December and in January the family received the fantastic news that she was in remission.
Kidney cancer in children is rare but Alice had a 10cm Wilms’ tumour, the most common type in youngsters her age.
Jane said: “It’s been great to be able to get back to normal life finally where everything is not revolved around hospital visits. She still has to have scans every six weeks at hospital. As it stands everything is ok, it’s just really nice and she looks so much better - she has bounced back.”
Since her diagnosis, Alice’s family and school friends have been on a mission to raise thousands of pounds for Macmillan Cancer Support.
During the difficult period, the family were supported by a Macmillan nurse who provided practical and emotional support.
She helped the family understand treatment plans, procedures and helped ease their worries.
The nurse even went to the school to speak to staff about Alice’s illness and gave them information on how to look after her while she was in nursery and help with her transition into full-time education.
To make sure other families in their situation have the same support, Andrew ran the London Marathon in April and has already raised more than £3,000.
On Friday, more than £1,500 was raised at a fair at Charlotte Infant and Nursery School which will help the Icke family reach their new goal of £5,000. The Macmillan Fair included an auction for a signed Carl Froch boxing glove. Teacher Paul Brenham was brave enough to have his back waxed.
The family recently went on a holiday to Disneyland in Florida. Jane said Alice has a good understanding about what has happened to her, even telling a boy on the plane that her short hair was because of cancer.
Now Alice is back at school where she loves anything that involves role play.
“She’s a strong character’, said Jane. “She understands she was poorly and we are still very much part of that system.”
Now the family, including eight-year-old son Joshua, are looking forward to the school holidays. “Last summer was spent in hospital so it will be nice to have the holidays without that,’ said Jane.
“We didn’t realise how poorly she was last year until we look at the pictures. When we look back now we go ‘goodness, she didn’t look well. We will always worry but we try not to let it take over. We want to be positive and move forward.”