THOSE closest to little Aalish Naylor helped celebrate her eight birthday in style with a spectacular party.
The youngster was diagnosed with the rare and aggressive cancer neuroblastoma in December 2015 and doctors have said her chances of being cured are now slim.
Aalish celebrated her birthday at the Legends Suite at Barnsley FC after being driven around town in a pink limousine bus.
She wore a sparkly party dress, and the room was decked out with balloons which formed an archway spelling out her name.
Guests enjoyed a buffet, entertainment and a magic show,
Aalish said: “I had a really nice time and really enjoyed it. I wore a sparkly dress which was blue, and sparkly shoes. I had my hair done in a fishtail and had my make-up and nails done.
“I also handed flowers out to people, and gifts to my friends. My favourite part was the party bus and the magic show.”
Aalish’s mum, Jo, 40, of Hawthorne Crescent, Dodworth, said: “Part of the reason we did this was because we don’t know what 2018 will bring. But it was a really lovely evening and everyone we invited turned up; there was about 100 people.”
At the party, Jo gave a moving speech about Aalish and played a slideshow of photographs showing her during happy times and during her treatment. The first clip was from Reds’ midfielder George Moncur who has formed a friendship with Aalish and her family.
George was away with the team at Norwich but sent a video message wishing her a happy birthday. Aalish has since visited George and his fiancee Chelsea Osborne who gave her presents and did some baking with her.
Aalish’s birthday was made extra special with the news that the oral chemotherapy she has been having at home has had a positive effect, and no more disease has been found.
Jo added: “At the moment, this particular chemo is doing what they want it to do. It is controlling it and keeping it at bay. For how long, we don’t know.
“I was expecting the doctor to say they had found some more disease, but she hasn’t.
“It was really good news. I just sat there and didn’t say a lot. I couldn’t believe what she was telling me.”
The chemotherapy is given over five days, and then Aalish has a three week break. It is given to her at a reduced strength so it doesn’t make her poorly.
So far, she has had three cycles, and Jo has seen a lump in Aalish’s head and swelling in her arm disappear.
Up to six cycles of the medication can be administered, but it is not known if Aalish would be able to have it indefinitely.
The family are now looking forward to enjoying Christmas, though Jo admits it is always a difficult time because it was Christmas 2015 when Aalish was diagnosed.
She added: “Christmas is a hard time of year for us, but Aalish loves Christmas and we do it for the kids, as any family does.
“My mum Jeni Pendree has moved back to Barnsley from the Isle of Man, which will be nice.”
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Spectacular party for Aalish
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