When news happens text pix and video to 80360. Start your message with BE then leave a space.
Brave Bella Phillips inspires Poole High school's ballerina fundraiser
A brave young girl from Poole has inspired a whole school to raise thousands to fight cancer.
Little Bella Phillips is just four years old but has already beaten the disease after undergoing months of gruelling chemotherapy and operations.
Her courage saw her chosen for a starring role in Cancer Research UK’s new fundraising campaign – Stand up to Cancer – where she appears in a video on the campaign website dressed in a tutu telling viewers she is “standing up to cancer to be a ballerina.”
Now Bella’s story has inspired pupils and staff at Poole High School – where both her mother Sian and her grandmother Kathy Weeks used to teach.
Head of senior school Janet Tuckett told the Echo she prepared a presentation for pupils showing photos of Bella’s life before, during, and after her cancer – as well as a video interview with Bella herself.
The result was the entire school getting behind the fundraising day on Friday with a myriad of group and individual efforts including a sponsored head shave, cake sales, an auction and, of course, dressing up as ballerinas en masse – just as Bella suggested.
“I think telling the story captured the whole school – everyone has responded to it – it’s amazing really,” added Janet.
“We think we’ll raise between £2,500 and £3,000 which is fabulous.”
Bella was two-and-a-half when she was diagnosed with clear cell sarcoma, an incredibly rare childhood cancer of the kidney.
She endured nine months of chemotherapy and three operations, including a 10-hour surgery to remove one of her kidneys where a tumour the size of her head had developed.
The Lilliput First School pupil, who has been in remission since February 2011, gave her seal of approval to the fundraising fun.
Mum Sian Phillips said: “She’s absolutely over the moon about it. It has made her feel really special.”
Stand Up to Cancer is a campaign by Cancer Research UK, backed by Channel 4, which included a star-studded fundraising night on the channel earlier this month.