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Family of brave girl, 4, from near Bury St Edmunds back TK Maxx campaign to raise money to fight cancer

PUBLISHED: 18:35 01 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:56 02 March 2018

Mia Preston. Picture: MARK R HEWLETT

Mia Preston. Picture: MARK R HEWLETT

© 2013 Mark Hewlett

The family of a brave four-year-old girl from Suffolk who is battling cancer is encouraging people to donate clothes to help fund research into the disease.

Mia Preston. Picture: MARK R HEWLETTMia Preston. Picture: MARK R HEWLETT

Mia Preston, from Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds, was diagnosed with cancer just a month after her fourth birthday, leaving her parents fearing for her life.

But the resilient youngster is fighting back and parents Emma, 34, and Andrew, 36, were reassured by an early diagnosis which meant Mia immediately started life-saving chemotherapy treatment.

Now the family are urging people across Suffolk to clear out their wardrobes and raise money to help fund research into children’s cancers.

They are supporting TK Maxx’s Give Up Clothes for Good campaign in support of Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens by rallying people to donate good quality clothing, accessories and homeware they no longer need to their nearest TK Maxx store.

Mum Emma said: “When I heard the word ‘cancer’ the first thing I thought was that she was going to die.

“I was shocked. It is difficult to explain how it felt to hear that, other than to say it was a bit like being in a nightmare.”

Mia before treatment. Picture: CANCER RESEARCH UK KIDS AND TEENS SUFFOLKMia before treatment. Picture: CANCER RESEARCH UK KIDS AND TEENS SUFFOLK

In July last year Mia, who attends Stanton Community Primary School, started suffering from cold-like symptoms, including coughing and being constantly very tired. She also had pains in her legs.

Her family doctor thought she had a virus but when she wasn’t any better two days later, Mia’s parents took her to hospital.

Doctors there carried out tests and within hours Mia was being rushed by emergency ambulance to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, and was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia following further tests.

Emma said: “Children are very resilient. Mia talks about having cancer openly. As long as she knows what is happening, she copes better.

“Since her diagnosis, Mia’s behaviour has changed slightly. She gets more frustrated and angry. She has had to go through many horrible procedures that no four-year-old should have to go through. She never complains. She just carries on.

“She just takes everything in her stride. She understands that she is unwell and needs these things done to make her better. But it must be hard for her to completely understand and we are so proud of her.”

The family is supporting the TK Maxx campaign to fund research to find new and improved treatments for children and young people with cancer.

Each bag of clothes donated could raise up to £30 when sold in Cancer Research UK shops.

Danielle Glavin, Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens spokeswoman for Suffolk, said: “It’s fantastic to see Mia as the face of Give up Clothes for Good in the East – she has been through so much at such a young age.

“Thanks to research, more children and young people are surviving cancer than ever before. But there’s still so much more to do. Our mission is to bring forward the day when no youngster dies of cancer. And that those who survive do so with a good quality of life.

“We’re able to carry out research to help find new, better and kinder treatments for children and young people with cancer thanks to donations raised through campaigns like Give Up Clothes for Good.

“So we hope everyone across Suffolk will support the campaign and donate any pre-loved clothes or goods to their local TK Maxx store. Every item donated will help bring us one step closer to beating the disease.”

Donated items are being collected from all TK Maxx stores across the UK, including the Bury St Edmunds branch at Robert Boby Retail Park.

For more information on how to support the campaign and Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens, visit cruk.org/kidsandteens

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