Ella’s bravery inspires charity bed run for Candlelighters

Ella Rigg with her best friend Lily Hardy.
Ella Rigg with her best friend Lily Hardy.

Young Ella Rigg has been through a lot in her short life, battling a rare and aggressive childhood cancer for almost two years.

The eight-year-old was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma in 2013.

But despite undergoing tough chemotherapy for 18 months, brave Ella “just gets on with things”, says her proud mum Jane Rigg.

Now Ella’s bravery has inspired the mum of her best friend Lily Hardy to raise money for Candlelighters, a charity who provided invaluable care for Ella and her family.

Wakefield Running Mamas member Emma Hardy has organised a sponsored 20-mile bed push from Newmillerdam to Leeds General Infirmary, where Ella was treated.

Mrs Hardy said: “Ella is a very strong, smiling, beautiful and active little girl.

“She has been through some very tough times since her diagnosis but Candlelighters have been fantastic in supporting her family. We wanted to do something to help them.”

Ella, a pupil at Hendal Primary School, first started complaining of stomach aches in September 2013.

Then, just after her seventh birthday in November, tests revealed every parent’s worst nightmare. Doctors found an 11cm tumour on her stomach and Ella was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma.

Mrs Rigg, of Woolgreaves, said: “It was really tough being told it was the worst type of cancer for a child.

“She went to LGI for several months and started having high doses of chemotherapy, which made her really ill. Then Ella had an operation to remove the tumour.”

In September 2014 Ella started immunotherapy, a treatment that uses the body’s own immune system to help fight cancer. She finished the treatment in May this year.

And Mrs Rigg said her daughter is now on the road to recovery.

She said: “Her hair has grown back and she is back at school. Ella does get tired now and again but compared to what she has been through, she is doing so much better.”

During Ella’s treatment, her family were determined to raise money for Candlelighters.

Mrs Rigg said: “The support the charity gives is invaluable to parents. They help so many families cope with such a difficult time in their lives.”