Cancer fails to stop Ria

Liz Coates A stunning dress and a stretch limousine helped Ria Helsdon say a grand farewell to her middle school days at a leavers' prom dance.The 12-year-old was determined to join friends at North Denes Middle School, Great Yarmouth, for the milestone event between bouts of chemotherapy after scans revealed her cancer was back.

Liz Coates

A stunning dress and a stretch limousine helped Ria Helsdon say a grand farewell to her middle school days at a leavers' prom dance.

The 12-year-old was determined to join friends at North Denes Middle School, Great Yarmouth, for the milestone event between bouts of chemotherapy after scans revealed her cancer was back.

Since the picture was taken she has been plunged back into the nightmare of surgery and treatment, ricocheting from the bleakest possible prognosis to hopes of a recovery.


You may also want to watch:


Her mother Heather this week said she and husband Roger feared the worst for Ria when the tumours in her lungs stopped responding to treatment and a surgeon said there was no point in operating.

However, another surgeon stepped in to take on the challenge picking out the many growths and in the end only taking half of one lung and bits of another in a nine hour operation which took place at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, last month.

Most Read

And after only two days in intensive care on a ventilator Ria astounded physiotherapists who came to get her out of bed by going for a walk.

Ria was first diagnosed with cancer in summer 2006 and was doing well after a harrowing year of operations and setbacks. Her second cancer battle would be even harder, surgeons warned, but this week she was enjoying the first weeks of term at Great Yarmouth High School.

Although struggling with a cold and the problem of daily injections and frequent blood and platelet transfusions Ria was this week looking and feeling well - her surgery ordeal already seeming like a long time ago.

She needs more chemotherapy and regular scans but has bounced back to remarkable health. After the operation and when the ventilator tube was removed she managed a heartfelt but croaky “thankyou” to the young surgeon who attempted the difficult operation. Heather said she and Ria's dad Roger were simply relieved the operation went ahead.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter