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Little Star award for inspirational Harley

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by Cancer Research UK | News

3 December 2014

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Little Star

A Manchester youngster who has been fighting cancer in his kidney, neck, lung and bones for 11 months and is described by his parents as “an inspiration” has had his courage recognised with a special award from Cancer Research UK and TK Maxx.

Five-year-old Harley Renshaw has received a Little Star award in recognition of his bravery.

“The Little Star awards are a wonderful way of raising awareness of the progress that is being made in the fight against children’s cancer and we would like to encourage anyone who knows an inspirational child, like Harley, to nominate them now.” – Nell Barrie, Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK has launched its annual Little Star awards, in partnership with fashion retailer TK Maxx, and is calling on relatives and friends of young cancer patients or survivors from across the region to nominate them now for special recognition in the run up to Christmas at

Harley was diagnosed with high risk neuroblastoma in January this year.

The Manchester City-loving little boy, who had just started at primary school, was taken to the walk-in centre by his mum Stacey Parker on New Year’s Day with a pain in his stomach. At first doctors thought he had a viral infection but then Stacey and dad Oliver, noticed a lump on the left side of Harley’s neck so took him back to be told it was a swollen lymph node.

After six visits to the GP and walk-in centre, Harley was sent for an ultrasound. Hours afterwards his parents were told he needed to be referred to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital for further tests. This revealed cancer in Harley’s kidney. Further investigations found he also had a tumour in his neck and cancer cells in his left lung, his bone marrow and his bones. Harley was diagnosed with high risk neuroblastoma – a rare aggressive childhood cancer.

Stacey, 23, a nursery nurse, said: “When we got the diagnosis our world flashed before our eyes. We were in complete shock. Our lives came crashing down we were terrified. How could this happen to an innocent child at just four years old?”

Harley is now taking part in a Cancer Research UK-funded clinical trial – at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital allowing him to have promising new therapies to treat neuroblastoma. He started on an 80-day intensive chemotherapy treatment and had an operation to remove the tumour on his right kidney. Harley was in intensive care for two days recovering from his op then moved onto the ward for three days before going home to recover for one month.

After a month at home Harley went back into hospital for a stem cell transplant and was in isolation at hospital for eight weeks as he was at high risk for infection. He had some complications and developed Vino Occlusive disease. He fought it and managed to come home in time to celebrate his 5th birthday in August with family and friends.

Harley then went on to having 14 days of radiotherapy at The Christie Hospital. He is now on the last phase of his treatment having immunotherapy. He has had one round and has another five rounds to go over a five month period.

Mum Stacey and dad Oliver, 25, a crew trainer, said Harley had been amazing during his treatment. Harley made some special beads of courage to wear during his hospital stay to help him feel brave. When he had his radiotherapy he decorated the mask mould which clipped him to the bed as his favourite ninja turtle.

She said: “Not once did he complain about going for treatment. He has a big scar right across his belly which he calls his ‘pirate scar’. We couldn’t be any prouder of our boy. He has had such a lot to deal with this year and he just takes it all in his stride and gets on with it! He is a true inspiration and he is our hero.

 “All the staff at Royal Manchester and The Christie were amazing and made everyday fun for Harley going there. They were all amazed at how well behaved he was having his radiotherapy and how he managed to keep so still with no sedation – they said they don’t even get adults that do as well as Harley has done.”

Neuroblastoma is a cancer of nerve cells left behind from a baby’s development in the womb. Neuroblastoma is a cancer of nerve cells left behind from a baby’s development in the womb. Around 100 children are diagnosed with the disease each year in the UK.

Around 90 children are diagnosed with the disease each year in Britain. Cancer Research UK was involved in a ten-year study that improved survival rates for children with neuroblastoma.

Nell Barrie, senior science communications manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “The Little Star Awards are a wonderful way of raising awareness of the progress that is being made in the fight against children’s cancer and we would like to encourage anyone who knows an inspirational child, like Harley, to nominate them now.

“Thousands of children are here today thanks to the research that saved their lives. But sadly, improvements have not been seen in all cancers. There is much more to be done to ensure no child’s life is cut short by the disease and to develop kinder and more effective treatments so that children can lead a full life after their diagnosis.”

Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital is one of 21 centres across the UK and Ireland taking part in groundbreaking research coordinated by Cancer Research UK’s Children’s Cancer Trials Team. These trials make innovative new treatments available to children with cancer in Manchester.

TK Maxx, which runs the awards in partnership with Cancer research UK, has supported the charity since 2004 and has raised around £14.7 million to help beat children’s cancers sooner.

Famous faces backing the awards include Wayne Rooney, singer-songwriter Emeli Sande; Strictly Come Dancing stars Kristina Rihanoff, Robin Windsor, Kevin Clifton and Karen Hauer; CBeebies presenters Justin Fletcher and Phil Gallagher (aka Mr Maker); and kids’ TV pop group Go!Go!Go!

Last year, more than 600 children received a Little Star award. Unlike many other children’s awards, there is no judging panel because Cancer Research UK and TK Maxx believe that each and every child who faces cancer is extra special. Recipients get a unique trophy, a £50 TK Maxx gift card and a certificate signed by celebrities.

Around 1,600 children are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK.

Cancer Research UK is now calling on the public to show their support for children with the disease by nominating a Little Star. The awards are open to all under-18s who have cancer or who have been treated for the disease in the last five years.

To nominate a Little Star or donate, please visit 


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