A BRAVE teenage girl with a terminal brain tumour has touched the lives of thousands of people – including icons such as Ed Sheeran – as she fights her rare disease.
Fifteen-year-old Sian Reeds from North End was struck down with the devastating news that she had a rare form of cancer after a routine eye appointment led to the diagnosis in November despite her appearing perfectly healthy.
But rather than let her hold her back, the popular and talented girl, who is renowned for her volunteering exploits around Portsmouth, has battled the condition with her customary determination and sense of humour – even winning a gymnastics competition after finding out the news.
In a poignant letter Sian confessed to loved ones she was ‘heartbroken’ to have been diagnosed with the condition and ‘still doesn’t believe the diagnosis’ which she revealed left her ‘confused’ and was ‘scary’.
She wrote: ‘I am a healthy young girl and I still don’t believe the diagnosis, which really confuses me and will suddenly become really ill. It is very scary.’
Despite her illness, Sian’s first thought is for other people, though. In her note, she added: ‘The thing I can’t stop thinking about is there are so many other families in similar situations and I would do anything to help them with their wishes.’
Sian, has set about raising money so she can complete a bucket list. But although her target was £1,500, the overwhelming response of people, including many from around the world who have been touched by her story, has resulted in more than £16,000 being raised already.
The Portsmouth Academy School student, who is not well enough to attend classes, has a number of items on her list. One of those includes meeting pop star Ed Sheeran – a dream that will become reality after the star arranged for her to go backstage at one of his concerts.
Other things on her wish-list include going to Shrek the Musical, skydiving, being a zookeeper for the day, doing a bungee jump and an extreme caving trip.
Sian is currently undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy in London during the week – ‘leaving her out of it’ – before returning at weekends with her 39-year-old parents Matthew and Helen Reeds to recover.
Proud dad Matthew said: ‘Sian had no symptoms, she went for a routine eye test which showed pressure behind her eyes.
‘She then went to the hospital for it to be checked out where it was confirmed she had a rare form of cancer called DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma). It’s normally only four to nine-year-olds that get it so the doctors were surprised with the diagnosis.
‘The normal diagnosis is nine months survival but because Sian is older it could be up to two years. But it is a very aggressive type of cancer so things can change quickly.’
Despite finding out the devastating news, Sian still took part in the Regional Acro gymnastics tournament for Portsmouth Gymnastics Club as she didn’t want to let her partner down – and won gold. It is this spirit and kindness that has touched so many people.
The club has since launched a special leotard in her honour – a move which has caught on from other gymnastic clubs around the world.
‘Sian is someone who is always smiling and will always put herself out for others,’ Matthew said. ‘She is someone who just wants other people to be happy and has always done a lot of volunteering like going into school and helping those with learning difficulties.
‘We’ve been overwhelmed with the response of people from all over the world who have donated money for her.
‘Sian’s met British gymnastic Kelly Simms, had a message from Thor actor Chris Hemsworth and had Ed Sheeran arrange for her to come to one of his concerts.
‘Unfortunately she is not well enough to travel to Brazil where he is touring so Ed has arranged for her to come to his concert in Leeds on August 16 which is Sian’s birthday. He has also said he will fly back from his European tour in February if she becomes unwell.’
Sian is also hoping to compete in the UK Rock Challenge where she is the dance captain next month when she is out of hospital. ‘She is determined to perform in it,’ Matthew said.
To donate go to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sianhermionereeds or Sian’s smile on Facebook.