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17 April 2010, 11:55 | Updated: 19 April 2010, 16:56
A four-year-old leukaemia patient from Braintree joined Sir Ian Botham on his special 25th anniversary walk to beat childhood leukaemia.
Maisie Rose Speller stepped out with Beefy on Sunday 18 April at Chelmsford’s Hyland’s Park to help the cricket legend raise vital funds for blood cancer charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
Maisie was just a toddler when she was diagnosed with leukaemia and began intensive treatment at London Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Dad Mathew says: “Maisie wasn’t well for about three weeks – she was very pale, had several bruises and a swollen belly. Her GP then referred her to St. John’s Hospital in Chelmsford where she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). Following the transfer to Great Ormond Street Hospital the next day, Maisie was immediately put on a course of treatment. During her treatment, Maisie also suffered with chicken pox and shingles because her immune system was so low.”
Thankfully Maisie’s treatment is going well and she is due to finish her treatment in October this year.
“Maisie is such a tough little cookie and has been such an inspiration throughout her treatment – we’ve been totally amazed by her. The work that Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research do is so invaluable, but we need to strive for 100 percent survival – that’s why we’re joining Beefy in April”, says Mathew.
In 1985 only 20% of children survived the most common form of childhood leukaemia, now 90% survive this disease. But there are still children for whom the outlook is not so good and Sir Ian is determined to make sure every child survives leukaemia.
Sir Ian, who is President of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, says: “I never forget why I put myself through the pain and blisters. But I need people to sign up and join me on the walk and help ensure that every child diagnosed with one of these blood cancers survives. I won’t stop until we beat childhood leukaemia, but I can’t do it without you.”
Beefy's been walking through ten towns over ten days from 10-19 April. On day 9 of his special charity walk he set off from the Marks & Spencer on the High Street in Chelmsford, walking for 10 miles through Chelmsford before arriving at Hylands Park, where up to 200 people joined him and walked to raise vital funds for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
Speaking about the Essex leg of his journey, Sir Ian told Heart: "The public always wanted to do come and do some walking with us and this place is just perfect - everyone can come, there's families - it's brilliant and that's what it's all about. I trained very hard and am actually in pretty good nick - I really enjoyed this walk. It's been the most successful we've ever done so we'll probably keep on going!"