The parents of a young Waverton girl who successfully fought an aggressive childhood cancer have praised Coronation Street script writers for raising awareness of the “evil disease”.
Naomi and Graeme Bentham’s lives were turned upside down back in October 2012 when their then 19-month-old daughter Anya was diagnosed with neuroblastoma.
Her brave battle against the disease captured the hearts of thousands across the country and more than a quarter of a million pounds was raised to help support her and her family during her treatment.
In April last year Anya’s mum Naomi Stanley posted on Facebook to reveal they had finally received the news they had been praying for – Anya was cancer free.
Next week Coronation Street viewers will see Fiz Brown’s life torn apart when her five year-old daughter Hope is diagnosed with neuroblastoma.
The soap’s bosses researched the illness and talked to sufferers to accurately reflect what Hope will go through.
Naomi and Graeme are unsure if they can watch the story on screen, but hope the soap will raise awareness of the disease and funding needed.
“I can’t applaud Coronation Street enough,” said Naomi. “Children’s cancer is so underfunded.
“If people spent one day on an oncology ward and saw what these children went through, how brave they were, they wouldn’t hesitate to write a cheque to fund research.
“Hopefully raising more awareness about the disease will mean more money going into research, and these children won’t have to suffer as much for as long.”
Graeme, who works at a power station in Connah’s Quay, added: “Our hope is that one day someone will develop a drug that can stop this evil disease. We need people to understand what childhood cancer and neuroblastoma means.”
The couple were just weeks away from walking down the aisle when Anya fell ill.
They finally tied the knot in Michigan, USA, on July 6 – with their daughter, now four, as their bridesmaid.
Naomi says: “It was just the three of us – like it has been on this journey for the last three years. It was perfect. Anya was so happy. I never dared to dream that would happen.”