13th August 2019
A little girl from Devizes, who was diagnosed with leukaemia when she was just four years old, has finally rung the bell to signify the end of her treatment.
Suki Corbett, seven, celebrated with her family and friends at the Royal United Hospital, Bath to mark Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
She was found to have acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in January, 2017, after months of uncertainty about why she was feeling ill. Originally it was thought she had a virus but her parents Rachel and Pete Corbett eventually saw a paediatrician and were given the devastating news.
Mrs Corbett said: "During the early weeks of Suki's diagnosis, I can remember watching films of other children ring their bell, it felt a whole other world away, but a world we were so determined to get to."
Reaching the end of her treatment has been far more emotional than I ever anticipated and seeing Suki ring the bell is such a huge milestone for her, for us all. It is wonderful to see her beaming smile.
“Suki's doctors, nurses and all healthcare staff have been incredible throughout her treatment. It's a world you never expect to be immersed in, but we've met some truly wonderful people.”
She said it was amazing to watch her elder daughter grow in strength week on week since finishing treatment. She said: "We cannot wait to see her get involved in so many more activities now, and watch her grow into a strong and determined little lady.
“However, a lot of people do have the perception that once treatment finishes, and a child has their last dose of chemotherapy, that that’s it and you can get on with life. But we now have to deal with a new norm. Suki has been really affected, both physically and mentally, and will have ongoing side-effects from the treatment for the rest of her life.
While our life has changed forever since dealing with childhood cancer, one thing is for sure we are determined to enjoy every precious moment.
Suki’s treatment included regular high-dose chemotherapy, blood and platelet transfusions and steroid medication. She suffered from weight loss and gain, constant nausea and vomiting and lost her hair as a result of the treatment. Her mother recalls birthdays and Christmases spent in hospital.
But this week Suki was happy and healthy, as she celebrated completing a gruelling two and a half years of treatment with her family and friends, by blowing bubbles and, most importantly, ringing the end of treatment bell three times to symbolise the end of her treatment.
It was horrid having the medicine but the doctors and mummy and daddy kept saying if you have it, it’ll make you better, and it has, and now I’ve finally rung the bell and finished treatment.Suki
Suki said, “Now I’m so joyful, happy and excited. And when I grow up I want to be a doctor…I just think they are amazing."
Hospital best friend Matilda Fisher, six, who underwent treatment side-by-side with Suki also joined in on the celebrations.
Suki said: “Matilda is my really special friend and she came to watch me ring the bell – we’ve both had leukaemia and we both understand what we’ve been through – other friends might not know what it’s been like and that’s why it’s so special."