Brave Neve really is a ‘Little Star’

Neve with mum and dad, Nicola and Chris, and little brother Ethan.
Neve with mum and dad, Nicola and Chris, and little brother Ethan.

A brave little girl who was diagnosed with cancer after surviving open heart surgery as a baby has been recognised with a special award.

Neve McDonnell was presented with a Little Star Award from Cancer Research UK for the courage she has shown throughout her battle with the illness.

The seven-year-old was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), a cancer of the white blood cells, in October 2012.

It was another devastating blow for Neve and her family after the youngster was born with a rare heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot.

Neve underwent open heart surgery at just nine-months-old. She made good progress and continued to improve, going to nursery and primary school.

Neve lives with her mum Nicola (36), dad Chris (35), and three-year-old brother Ethan, in Moodiesburn.

Nicola said: “We never thought that lightning could strike twice and so, after Neve recovered from the heart condition she was born with, we never imagined she could be unlucky enough to be diagnosed with cancer too.

“Despite it all, Neve has been so brave. She has been through so much in her little life, but she doesn’t let her illness hold her back.

“She’s got a real love for life and she’s always on the go. She’s always smiling and likes nothing better than to be out playing with her friends.”

Courageous Neve, who attends St Michael’s Primary, is continuing to receive treatment. Her family have praised medical staff.

Mum Nicola said: “Everything is going in the right direction. Towards the end of this year Neve will finish her treatment. The staff at the Schiehallion Ward at Yorkhill work tirelessly to help.”

The youngster was delighted to receive a special star-shaped chrome trophy in recognition of the bravery she has shown.

Cancer Research UK’s Little Star Awards, in partnership with TK Maxx, acknowledge the unique challenges faced by youngsters who encounter cancer.

Neve was nominated for the accolade by her proud parents. As well as the award she also received signed items from boy band JLS and a voucher for TK Maxx.

Nicola added: “Neve absolutely loved getting her Little Star Award. When it arrived it took pride of place on our mantelpiece.

“As a family we are honoured to be part of the awards and to help raise awareness of childhood cancer.”

Linda Summerhayes, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson in Scotland, said: “Neve is a true ‘Little Star’ who richly deserves this accolade. We hope to acknowledge the bravery of many more children across Scotland and are encouraging family and friends to get nominating now.”