Star award is great present for 'bravest girl in the world'

The yacht being towed to Gosport. Credit: GAFIRS

Rescuers tow 44ft yacht to Gosport after fire and engine failure

Last Christmas was not a happy time for Sophia Tucker and her family.

The six-year-old had been diagnosed with kidney cancer and faced major surgery and gruelling chemotherapy treatment in the new year.

But this Christmas the youngster and her family have everything to celebrate as she has beaten the disease and is recovering well.

Her courage over the last 12 months amazed her proud mother Julie Glennie so much that she nominated her daughter for a Cancer Research UK Little Star Award.

Julie, 31, of Hobby Close, Waterlooville, said: 'Last Christmas was awful. We'd not long found out Sophia had cancer so couldn't really concentrate on Christmas and no one was looking forward to it because we knew she would to have a major operation afterwards.

'But this year we're all so excited and just can't wait for the day.'

She added: 'Sophia's had to go through so much but she's been so brave - that's why I nominated her for the award.

'Even though she's had to have chemotherapy and surgery, and lost all her hair, she has never complained once. She just smiled throughout, she's amazing.

'It's hard to put into words how proud her dad, Maurice, and I are.'

During her treatment Sophia continued to go to Hart Plain Infant School in Waterlooville which helped keep a bit of normality in her life.

And when she was too unwell to attend, her teachers helped prepare homework for her to work on in hospital and at home so she didn't feel like she was falling behind.

Sophia's teacher Carole Fenton, said: 'Sophia is the bravest little girl in the world. Despite her illness she came to school as much as possible and still made really good progress.

'Sophia always gives one hundred per cent and has remained very matter-of-fact about everything she has had to deal with. I'm delighted she has earned this award. She thoroughly deserves it.'

Sophia now has to have three-monthly check-ups and is receiving ongoing treatment for damage to the nerves in her legs from chemotherapy.

Earlier this year she nominated her nurse at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Howard Wilford, for Nurse of the Year as part of The News' Best of Health Awards.

Mr Wilford, or 'Wilf' as he's known, won the award and now Sophia has an award of her very own too.

The youngster, who is looking forward to spending tomorrow with her parents and four-year-old brother Thomas, said: 'I really like my award.'

The Little Star awards, in partnership with TK Maxx, aims to acknowledge the challenges faced by young cancer patients.

Helen Johnstone, from Cancer Research UK, said: 'Sophia's very inspiring story is a perfect example of why children who battle cancer deserve to have their courage recognised.'

Sophia also won a 50 TK Maxx voucher and certificate signed by celebrities such as Rihanna and Ryan Giggs.