Cancer charity's praise for little stars

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BATTLING cancer can be terrifying but these youngsters are armed with smiles they refuse to lose.

Fighting their illnesses with laughs and positive attitudes, Thea Pawley, Hannah Johnson and Holly Stewart have all been awarded Little Stars.

Cancer Research UK gives the awards out to youngsters who show outstanding bravery and positivity and, as an extra treat, they and their families were invited to Southsea's Blue Reef Aquarium for free.

The little stars were even given the chance to get to grips with a starfish, which delighted them as they learnt all about the creatures from the deep.

Five-year-old Hannah was diagnosed with leukaemia in the summer of last year and has been having chemotherapy ever since. Later this month she is due to start another intense dose of the treatment which has already seen her lose all her hair.

The aquarium is one of her favourite places, and little Hannah was delighted to be there to get her award and to see all the creatures.

Sitting proudly with her Little Star award, she said: 'I really like it lots. My favourite bit was seeing the seahorses, and getting the star.'

Thea Pawley, nine, is now in remission after going in and out of hospital for gruelling chemotherapy and radiation treatment for leukaemia – all without complaining.

Her smile beamed across the room as she was presented with her award in front of her family.

She said: 'It really means a lot to me to get this. I can't wait to show all my friends – none of them knew I was getting the award.

'I'm going to put it on a special table I have where everyone can see it, and put the certificate up on the wall too.'

Holly, who celebrates her 10th birthday today, has made a full recovery after a tumour was discovered at the base of her spine when she was just two.

She had to have five courses of chemotherapy and an operation.

Last weekend Holly was among the children who attended a special Mad Hatter's Party at the Marriott Hotel in Portsmouth.

She said: 'It was great getting the star. All this means I can have two celebrations for my birthday, which is brilliant.'

Handing out the awards, Helen Johnstone, from Cancer Research UK, said: 'These are special awards for special children. They are just amazing kids.

'They have been through more challenges in their short lives than most people will ever have to face – and they do it all with a smile.'