Being an active girl, ten-year-old Freya from Widmer End in Buckinghamshire, loved going to the park. On a summer’s day last August, she did a big jump in the air, and upon landing, fell to the floor and couldn’t get back up again.

Talking about the incident, Freya’s mum, Rachael Whitby, said: ‘After various tests at A&E Freya was sent for an MRI scan and it was discovered that she had broken her back. The doctors felt that further investigation was needed as this kind of break was unusual for someone so young.

‘After further testing including a CT scan, it was discovered that Freya also had tumours in her throat, chest and back, which were diagnosed as stage three Non-Hodgkins lymphoma which required aggressive treatment of chemotherapy.

‘It was a shock to us all as Freya was such a healthy girl who didn’t appear poorly at all.

‘She’d had a lump in her throat which the doctors thought was possibly an enlarged thyroid gland known as a goitre, which was being looked into.

Freya was admitted to Kamran’s Ward in the Oxford Children’s Hospital, and given four rounds of intensive chemotherapy. Each round was roughly a week of in-patient stay, sometimes being hooked up to the chemo 24 hours a day. Between rounds she was very poorly so had to go back to her local hospital to be cared for.

‘Freya is a girl who loves being with her family, going to school, being social, enjoying musical theatre, and going to brownies - when she found out she had cancer, that all stopped.’ Her mum explains.

‘We were told that the hospital had play specialists that we could access for Freya, but we didn’t think it was something that would be suitable, as it sounded like a service for younger children – we couldn’t have been more wrong!

‘The play specialists on Kamran’s ward became friends, she loved to go there and grow her bead collection, get crafty, play board games and just feel like she was chatting without people treating her differently and being awkward around her - another unfortunate side effect of cancer.

‘One of the highlights was how she measured herself in beads - the bead length started out as 1 Freya foot but eventually became something daft like 2 1/2 Freya bodies and 3 Freya feet!

‘Before our experience, you would think a children’s cancer ward is a pretty miserable place to be. There is no denying, there were some very dark days, a lot of anxiety and tears, but I was surprised to find laughter, joy, friends and love too, and the play team nurtured that.’

Freya has now finished her treatment and her most recent scan has revealed that she is cancer-free. She will still have regular check-ups for the next five years, but she is a low risk and we are looking positively to the future.

‘Although we are so grateful that she is currently in the clear, our hearts go out to all the other children and their loved ones who have not yet received that good news. We want to be able to support them, spread awareness, and give back.

‘Through this journey, we have come across so many incredible nurses, doctors, and non-profit organisations that truly make a difference, and we wanted to raise more money for them so that they may continue to assist and support children and their families.

‘We actually went to the John Radcliffe a few weeks ago for a review and the first thing she wanted to do was to see if the play specialist Jordana was in the playroom (thankfully she was)!’ 

The Whitby family hope to organise some charity events when life has got back to normal, but in the meantime created a Justgiving page for a number of charities that have helped them through their difficult journey.

We were incredibly grateful that thanks to this they have been able to make a donation of £460 to support the work of the play team on Kamran’s Ward.

Thank you Freya! We think you are amazing.

If Freya has inspired you, why not visit our Fundraising page for ideas to spur you on.