Family to give back after baby daughter’s rare cancer diagnosis

Stacey Rushworth with daughter Ava.
Stacey Rushworth with daughter Ava.

When tiny tot Ava Rushworth was just four months old, she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

Her mum Stacey and dad Ricky were dealt the devastating blow that their daughter had Neuroblastoma and would need to undergo intensive chemotherapy.

Eleven months on, with treatment complete, the family are now raising funds for children’s cancer charity Candlelighters, which supported them throughout the ordeal.

Mrs Rushworth, 30, of Walton, said: “They have made life a lot easier for us as parents. They helped my elder daughter Cadey deal with the fact her sister had been diagnosed.

“They make your child happy and provide some distraction from what is going on. They are there every single step of the way for every kid.

“We wanted to put a little bit of money back in the pot as a way of saying thank you.”

Mrs Rushworth said she feared something was wrong with Ava right from birth but the tumour was not detected until Ava had a CT scan in August last year.

“She had a very painful cry and used to do it all the time,” Mrs Rushworth said. “When she was eventually diagnosed, they were monitoring her every twenty minutes around the clock because they thought she could be paralysed any second, as the tumour was wrapped around her spine.

“It was absolutely heartbreaking. It tore our world apart. When thinking about it I get very tearful. The last year has been a blur.”

The family are throwing a summer fair and fun day at Sandal Cricket Club on Barnsley Road on August 6.

The event, which takes place from noon, will include stalls, a raffle, tombola, bouncy castle, table games, zorbing, face painting and a barbecue.

Mrs Rushworth said: “Candlelighters rely on donations so we want to raise as much money as possible.

“I’d encourage everyone to come along to support this brilliant charity so they can carry on supporting kids like Ava. They deserve every single penny.”