Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Brave Bella from Hassocks battling rare cancer
Brave Bella Swan-Collins could be spending Christmas in a London hospital but her parents are hopeful that the new year will see her rid of a rare form of bone cancer.
Eight-year-old Bella was diagnosed in July with the rare bone cancer Ewings-Sarcoma which affects only about 40 patients in Britain each year and is most common in teenagers.
The brave youngster from Clayton, near Hassocks, has already had three bouts of chemotherapy and will undergo surgery in December where her right femur will be replaced with a titanium substitute operated by batteries and magnets.
Tumour When Bella first started complaining about soreness in her leg her parents and GP initially thought it was growing pains.
When the pain got worse, she was rushed to Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton where doctors discovered a tumour growing at an alarming rate.
Hermother Janee Swan said: “When we got the diagnosis, I just felt absolute horror, shock and disbelief.
“Something in my brain didn’t allow me to believe it, I thought the doctors were wrong.
“Then we had a terrible wait to see whether the cancer had spread anywhere else.
“Those were the worst days of my life.
“After her diagnosis Bella got better because she knew what it was and knew it could be cured.
“The swelling around the tumour died down within two days of diagnosis and we could take her off the morphine.”
As a side effect to the chemotherapy, little Bella has suffered hair loss, mouth ulcers and stomach cramps while her parents have had to be careful to ensure she keeps her weight up.
After undergoing three more rounds of chemotherapy and blood transfusions, Bella will undergo her operation on December 17.
Her mother said: “It’s quite likely she will be in hospital over Christmas but Santa will still be able to find her.
“There is phenomenal technology these days, her replacement leg will grow with her and in about six months she could be walking normally.
“Bella has been inspired by the Paralympics and the highachieving Paralympians. She thinks she’s getting a bionic leg.
“She has amazing strength and amazing courage.”
Bella hasn’t let her problems get in the way of her living her life and she was given special permission to leave the hospital on Tuesday to see Albion play.
Fundraising She also manages to attend St Margaret’s Primary School in Ditchling between treatments.
To help her family, friends and schoolmates have started organising fundraising events.
A jumble vintage and nearly new sale will be held today between 3pm and 5pm at Ditchling Village Hall in Lewes Road, Ditchling.
Entry costs £1.