An Antrim teenager, who battled a rare bone cancer, is urging people to clear out their wardrobes and help save lives.
Fifteen-year-old Amber Lloyd missed her first year of high school because she was being treated for Ewing’s Sarcoma after a tumour that started in her rib and hip area left her barely able to walk.
Emergency surgery the day after her diagnosis was followed up by intensive chemo and radiotherapy for a full year – and it has saved her life.
The teenager is now enjoying high school with her friends and, along with mum Karen, is hoping to reach an important milestone next year of being five years cancer-free and finally in remission.
This September - Childhood Cancer Awareness Month - Amber has been chosen in Northern Ireland to launch ‘Give Up Clothes for Good’, a partnership between TK Maxx and Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens which raises funds for life saving research into children’s cancers.
Amber and her family are urging people to help beat children’s cancers by donating any pre-loved quality clothing, accessories and homeware they no longer need to their nearest TK Maxx store.
When resold, each bag of items donated could raise up to £30 to help fund vital research in to new, better and kinder treatments for cancers affecting children and young people.
Amber is one of around 140 children and young people (aged 0-24) who are diagnosed with cancer in Northern Ireland every year.
Her mum Karen knows first-hand how important research is in saving more lives.
She said: “I couldn’t be more proud of Amber and how well she’s coped with everything that’s been thrown at her.
“She went from being an active, happy little girl who loved nothing more than playing on her trampoline to being so ill she couldn’t get out of bed.
“To look at her now, you’d never know what she’d been through. She doesn’t let anything slow her down and is finally getting to enjoy just getting back to normal, being a regular teenager.”
Amber was still undergoing treatment in September 2015 when she would have been due to start Riverside School with her friends. It was only by the end of that year that she and mum Karen got the news they’d been hoping for.
Karen added: “At her final scan, there was no trace of the disease at all – it was everything we could have wished for. Amber now has scans every three to four months and so far the results have all been great.
“Our goal is to get to the end of next year still cancer free and she will then be officially classed as being in remission.
“Our family has benefited directly from research into children’s cancers.
“Raising funds for Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens is so important for children like Amber.
“I hope everyone across Northern Ireland will get behind this campaign and turn something they no longer need into funds for such a fantastic cause.”