A north-east toddler who required two stem cell transplants to fight off cancer has helped to launch an awards scheme celebrating the bravery of children with the disease.
Amelia Topa, from Turriff, has been chosen as the face of the Cancer Research UK for Children and Young People Star Award.
The youngster, who celebrated her second birthday yesterday, has also won an award herself after being diagnosed with leukaemia when she was born.
Amelia’s mum Kerri Paton, 23, said: “Anyone who meets Amelia would agree that she’s a star.
“Being told your child has cancer is the worst sentence any parent could ever hear.
“I felt mad at first that someone so tiny should have to go through this horrible disease.
“But Amelia has been a little fighter from the day she was born.
“I have felt amazed by her strength and lucky to have good support from friends, family and hospital staff.”
On December 14 2017, Amelia was diagnosed with a mix of two types of the disease, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and acute myeloid leukaemia.
The family was transferred to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow the following day and Amelia spent her first Christmas there as the first of four rounds of chemotherapy began.
In spring 2018, medics told Amelia’s parents, mum Kerri and dad, Igor Topa, 24, that her best chance of survival was a bone marrow transplant using stem cells.
A match was found and the transplant went ahead last June with tests showing it had worked.
But tests in February this year showed the cancer had returned and doctors suggested a second transplant, this time using stem cells from umbilical cord blood from a newborn baby in America.
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
The leukaemia is now in remission.
Kerri, 23, said: “We will forever be grateful to a family in America we’ll probably never get a chance to meet.
“The stem cells from the States looked just like a small bag of blood but they had the power to make Amelia well again.”
Kerri, Igor, Amelia and her young brother Oscar, who was the first baby to be born in the new maternity unit in Aberdeen on October 30 last year, are urging people to nominate youngsters for the Cancer Research UK for Children and Young People Star Awards.
The awards are open to all under-18s who currently have cancer or have been treated for the disease in the last five years.
To nominate a child for an award, visit https://bit.ly/2KZEnhz