A five-year-old girl from Gerrards Cross recently celebrated her birthday by finishing her treatment for lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).

Sophia Bird, who was diagnosed with the illness in 2017 at the age of two, has had to endure intense chemotherapy, with her treatment including blood and platelet transfusions, lumbar punctures and steroid medication.

But whilst she no longer needs the treatment, the child is still suffering from the ill effects of chemotherapy.

Sophia’s mum, Gemma, said: “The side effects of treatment were really tough for Sophia.

“She suffered a seizure related to one of the treatments and was unable to walk for several months, she also has a persistent tremor in her hands.

“MRI results have shown changes within her brain which continue to have a lasting neurological impact on her day-to-day skills.

“The chemotherapy intoxicated her body to the point where she couldn’t grip a pen or walk and the tremor in her hand prevented her from getting food to her mouth.”

Following Sophia’s diagnoses, her family were supported by the childhood cancer research charity Children with Cancer UK.

In addition to being supported by the charity, the five-year-old’s treatment was also involved in an acute lymphoblastic leukaemia trial – UKALL 2011 – which was funded by the charity.

And following the successful yet brutal treatment, Sophia rung the end of treatment bell at Wexham Park Hospital.

She was the first child to ring the bell at the Berkshire hospital, symbolising the end of her treatment and the beginning of her new life after cancer.

Gemma added: “I first heard of Children with Cancer UK on the hospital ward – it was probably one of the many sleepless nights I had where I stayed up researching different treatments.

“Also, there is a perception that once a child finishes their treatment, takes that last dose of chemotherapy and rings the end of treatment bell that their battle with cancer is over.

“But the reality is Sophia will face ongoing side effects from the harsh treatments and she is very resilient and take everything in her stride.

“She’s already faced many challenges and her fighting character means she never lets anything stop her from living life to the full.”

Children with Cancer UK Acting CEO Mark Brider said: “Childhood cancers are very different to those found in adults, but all too often doctors have to rely on treatments designed for adults, not children.

“This can leave children facing lifelong health problems as their small bodies struggle to cope with toxic medicines.

“This makes childhood cancer research vital to improving survival rates as well as quality of survival so children like Sophia don’t have to face long-term effects from treatment.”