Girl’s survival a family miracle
Published: March 31, 2008 | 6973rd good news item since 2003
When little Bethany Greenall was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour aged 13 months, her parents were told she would be lucky to reach her fifth birthday.But 10 years on, the plucky youngster from Murton has proved the medics wrong.
Despite undergoing four operations to remove the tumour, as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, specialists have concluded that 10 per cent of it will never go away.
As a result, the 11-year-old has learning and behavioural difficulties, as well as severe epilepsy.
Bethany, who attends Parkland primary’s special teaching facility, has been prescribed anti-epilepsy drugs and goes for check-ups every six months.
In what has been a difficult 10 years for the family, they have been grateful for the support they have received from the Joshua Foundation, which provides holidays and experiences for children with cancer and their families.
Bethany’s mum, Jeanette Aldridge, said: “Bethany will never be cured medically and has to live with the effects of the tumour on a daily basis. Doctors can’t give us a proper prognosis as they don’t know enough about the cancer – it’s that rare.
“The good news is that the tumour hasn’t grown in the past three years. The charity has really helped to bring some normality to our family life.
“Unlike other charities where you have to meet certain criteria to qualify for their help, they have always been on hand to offer really fun opportunities and great memories for the girls.”
The family first met the Joshua Foundation in 2005 when they were invited to attend the charity’s Halloween party in Cardiff.
For the past three years Bethany and her sisters Lucy, aged nine, Ruth, aged eight, and Kira, aged two, have been all-expense-paid guests at events organised by the charity.
Jeanette, who moved to South Wales from Liverpool four years ago, said: “We go to every event they organise – Christmas parties, Easter parties and days out with other families.
“They send limos to pick us up and we stay at nice hotels, never having to pay a penny ourselves. I really appreciate the help, especially since my family are based in Liverpool.”
Jeanette’s brother, Neill Leisk, has run the Liverpool Half Marathon to raise £700 for the Joshua Foundation in thanks.
The family were hoping to give a little support back to the charity themselves by attending a sponsored walk at Blackpill on Friday evening, but Bethany was not feeling well enough.
But they hope to give other support to the charity which has been such a rock for them over the past decade.
“It has been a lifeline for us,” said Jeanette.
A spokesman for the Joshua Foundation said: “The Joshua Foundation was created in September 1998 to provide holidays and experiences for children and their families where the child is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
“Whereas other wish organisations provide one-off experiences, the Joshua Foundation effectively ‘adopts’ children and their families providing them with on-going experiences and memories.”