A LITTLE Cupar girl enduring an intensive course of chemotherapy following the removal of a cancerous tumour has enjoyed a wonderful festive season thanks to various kind-hearted charities.
Three-year-old Summer Wroniecki and her mum, Karen, got their Christmas celebrations off to a sparkling start when they had a magical meeting with Santa Claus.
The trip, organised by Edinburgh-based charity CCLASP (Children with Cancer and Leukaemia Advice and Support for Parents), saw 65 youngsters boarding a special ‘Santa’ flight at Edinburgh Airport complete with their own ‘passports’ and boarding cards.
The plane ‘chased Santa’s sleigh’ across the sky back to Edinburgh where the children visited Santa’s grotto at Gogarburn House.
Karen said: “There were loads of kids’ characters there like Minnie and Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh and Santa with his elves and real reindeer.
“There were loads of presents for the children – and even fake snow.
“Summer is still talking about the day she met Santa; she will remember it for a long time.”
While Summer was enjoying her Santa surprise, her five-year-old brother Brody was also being treated to a day out to see Dundee United play Celtic.
The trip, organised by Kean’s Children’s Fund, saw Brody, his dad Chris – a Celtic fan – and grandads Richard Wroniecki and Andrew Johnston, enjoying hospitality at Tannadice thanks to the charity run by Dundee businessman Charlie Kean.
Karen said Mr Kean – who has raised £250,000 for the children’s ward at Ninewells Hospital – had been fantastic and even gave the family an ipad for Christmas.
She said: “Since Summer has been ill and has been spending time at both Ninewells Hospital and the Sick Kids’ in Edinburgh, we have come into contact with a number of charities who have provided a great deal of support.
“In the beginning we received some money to help with our fuel bills, which was great since the cost of driving to either Dundee or Edinburgh every day can quickly mount up.
Karen said that since Summer was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in September, the family had received a great deal of help from friends and family, as well as several charities involved in helping children.
“We really have been overwhelmed by how supportive people have been,” she said.
“We are really lucky that Chris’ employer Scottish Power has given him adequate time off and I work for a family business so we aren’t in the same difficult position we’ve seen some people in.”
Summer has undergone four major operations including the removal of the tumour and an ovary, as well as blood transfusions, and numerous trips to the hospitals.
Chris said: “She has put up with a lot and it has been really hard seeing her in pain and not eating.
“She did lose a bit of weight at first, but she is eating a bit more now and we are really positive that come March when her treatment is over, she’ll be fine.”
He went on: “The next five weeks will be tough as Summer has to have radiotherapy every day Monday to Friday under general anaesthetic.
“We’ll be able to stay with her thanks to the CLIC Sargent charity which provides a parents’ house.
“They also provide transport from the Sick Kids where she’s getting her chemotherapy to the Western General where she will get the radiotherapy.”
Karen also paid tribute to paediatric oncology specialist Gaye Steel, from Cupar, who is involved in the charity TCCL. which supports children with cancer in Tayside and north east Fife and to Professor Hamish Wallace in Edinburgh.
Chris added that they were very grateful to their families, particularly both sets of parents, and their friends for the amount of practical help they have given them.
n For more information on TCCL see www.tccl.org.uk; CLIC Sargent, www.clicsargent.org.uk; Kean’s Children’s Fund, www.keanchildrensfund.com; and CCLASP, www.cclasp.net