Schoolgirl Chloe Gambrill has won a prestigious national award for her dedication to raising money for Cancer Research UK.
Chloe, one of the charity’s “Little Stars”, has been named Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Fundraiser of the Year and will receive her award at a glittering ceremony tomorrow night (Tues Oct 9).
Prince Charles and Prime Minister Gordon Brown will lead the tributes to the outstanding achievements of the award winners in the ceremony to be screened on ITV on Wednesday night (Oct 10).
Stars saluting the unsung heroes will include: JK Rowling, Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, Ewan McGregor, Peter Kay, Ant and Dec, Stephen Fry, Dame Shirley Bassey, Simon Cowell, Jamie Oliver, Sir David Jason and Little Britain’s Matt Lucas and David Walliams.
Sportsmen Lewis Hamilton, Wayne Rooney and England captain John Terry will also be there to hear the stories of breathtaking heroism and courage.
Chloe, nine, beat thousands of nominees to win the award which recognises not so much the amount of money she raised but the courage, spirit and determination it took her to raise it.
Two years ago, when she was six, Chloe, from Ramsgate, Kent, signed up to take part in the Cancer Research UK Race for Life.
She wanted to run in honour of her beloved nannie Wendy Parrish who had died of breast cancer a year earlier, aged 56. Chloe and her family had no idea that just a few weeks later she would be diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Despite starting an intensive course of chemotherapy and having an operation just three days before the race, Chloe was determined to take part.
She was so weak she collapsed part way round the course but refused to give up and get into a waiting ambulance. She was worried if she did not cross the finishing line she would lose her £100 sponsorship money.
Chloe’s mum Kelly said: “When she collapsed, she was devastated. She laid in my arms begging me not to make her go back to the ambulance.
“She had already collected the sponsorship money and didn’t want to let anyone down. It seems like such a small amount but it was really important to her.”
Kelly, along with Chloe’s dad Darren and her older brother Charlie, now 11, took turns to carry her around the course and helped her walk over the finish line.
“We wanted to do the Race for Life in honour of my mum and to raise money for more research. Little did we know that five weeks before the race, Chloe would be diagnosed with cancer herself. It made it even more poignant.
“It’s hard to put into words what it was like watching her so terribly ill, putting herself through this for her nannie.
“She was very close to her nannie. She was a huge part of both of my children’s lives and Chloe was going to do it for her come what may.”
Chloe is now in remission after 27 months of gruelling treatment including intravenous chemotherapy which made her hair fall out twice. She was regularly too weak to go to school, spent time in a wheelchair, suffered constant nausea and headaches and pain so severe she was given morphine.
Yet throughout her treatment Chloe showed the same determination to live a normal life as she did in the Race for Life.
She did her ballet exams, took part in dance shows and completed a sponsored swim to raise money for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Margate where she was often treated.
This year Chloe was able to return to the Race for Life as a guest of honour at the Isle of Thanet race. She took part and raised £850. Next year she hopes to raise more than £1,000.
Kelly said: “It’s never been a huge amount of money but Chloe is always determined to do her bit.”
She added: “We have always been amazed by the way Chloe has coped with leukaemia and now we are so proud. This is a huge accolade for her and it’s wonderful for something so positive to come from her illness.”
Chloe is one of Cancer Research UK’s “Little Stars” – an award presented to children who have had cancer but continue to sparkle.
Kelly added: “If it wasn’t for the kind of work Cancer Research UK does, Chloe might not be here today. We lost my mum but we had six extra years following her diagnosis. If she had been diagnosed ten years before that, we would probably not have had that extra time. Steps forward are being made all the time. That’s why it is so important to support the work the charity is doing and take part in events like Race for Life – every step can help save a life.”
Chloe and the other Pride of Britain winners can be seen receiving their awards at 9pm on ITV 1 on October 10. For more details visit www.prideofbritain.com.
For more information about the Cancer Research UK Race for Life, sponsored by Tesco, visit: www.raceforlife.org or call the hotline on 08705 134 314.
For media inquiries, please contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 7061 8414.
About Cancer Research UK
Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK’s vision is to beat cancer.
- Cancer Research UK carries out world-class research to improve understanding of the disease and find out how to prevent, diagnose and treat different kinds of cancer.
- Cancer Research UK ensures that its findings are used to improve the lives of all cancer patients.
- Cancer Research UK helps people to understand cancer, the progress that is being made and the choices each person can make.
- Cancer Research UK works in partnership with others to achieve the greatest impact in the global fight against cancer.
For further information about Cancer Research UK’s work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 7009 8820 or visit our homepage.