Sick toddler steals show at fundraiser

PUBLISHED: 14:54 12 November 2010

Suellen Smith with Ashanti (2) at Gorleston.; Photo: Andy Darnell; Copy: Miles Jermy; For: GYM; Archant © 2010 (01603) 772434

Suellen Smith with Ashanti (2) at Gorleston.; Photo: Andy Darnell; Copy: Miles Jermy; For: GYM; Archant © 2010 (01603) 772434

Archant © 2010

THERE was barely a dry eye as brave little Ashantai Mane was carried on to the stage by her mum Suellen.

Sweet enough to melt the hardest of hearts Ashantai had climbed from her hospital bed to take a starring role in a charity fashion show in Great Yarmouth.

Cheers and applause rang out for the cute toddler who is suffering from Wilm’s Tumour, the childhood form of kidney cancer.

The two-year-old was being treated at James Paget University Hospital for an infection before joining Suellen at the show, which raised £650 for Cancer Research.

Gorleston businesswoman Suellen, 31, organised the fundraiser after setting up promotions agency Elite Glam Girls earlier this year.

She said: “It was very emotional carrying Ashantai out, a lot of people in the audience were crying and came to give us cuddles afterwards.

“Ashantai looked absolutely beautiful in her pretty bridesmaid dress with little earrings and a tiara. She loved being in the limelight and couldn’t stop smiling.

“The nurses were very good letting her come out for the show and even changed the time when she had to take her antibiotics.”

Suellen and her partner Abdulai learned the devastating news their daughter has cancer last year after taking her to the GP with a swollen stomach.

Since then she has undergone a gruelling course of chemotherapy and had a kidney removed in October. A patch has been identified on her remaining kidney, but it has still not been decided if this is a tumour requiring more surgery.

The catwalk show took place at Caesar’s Bar with the owners providing the venue free of charge. Models wore clothes from Angels fashion store in Yarmouth and the event also included a performance by rap duo Destination Mars.

Prizes were provided for a raffle by Soundwaves Entertainment, Norwich Theatre Royal, Lowestoft Marina Theatre, Arena Nightclub and Playstax in Gorleston.

Staff at the Long Bar where Abdulai works as a door supervisor also donated cash.

Suellen said: She said: “I have wanted to do a charity event ever since Ashantai became ill and starting the business was the perfect opportunity.

“She has coped so well with the cancer – everyone finds it hard to believe there anything wrong with her.

“It makes me feel better to help with something like this and we need to raise as much money as possible to help find a cure for the disease.”

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