WHILE IT has been a challenging start to the year for many, this season has been a time of hope for little Ellie Humphries and her family, after latest scan results show the three-year-old’s cancer is now stable.

Brave Ellie, the face of the 2020 Christmas Appeal from Julia’s House, has suffered many setbacks in her short life so far but recent tests bring hope for Ellie and her family.

Since launching the appeal in November, the charity has been overwhelmed by the response to Ellie’s story from the local community, with around £70,000 has already been raised, exceeding the charity’s initial target of £50,000 – with more than a month to go before the appeal ends.

Ellie’s Julia’s House nurse Molly Douglas said: “Ellie has a smile that could light up even the darkest of Januarys – she’s such an inspirational little girl.

“It was just the best news to hear about her scan results as we know how stressful this is for the family.

“She is a little fighter and continues to fight every day, and we feel lucky to be part of her journey.”

Jenna and Luke Humphries’ “sunny-natured” baby girl Ellie was just six months old when doctors discovered a large brain tumour.

Left for just a few more days, Ellie’s tumour would have been inoperable. She survived the 14-hour surgery but suffered a stroke which left her partially sighted and with no movement down her right side.

In the months that followed, Ellie was in and out of hospital for an operation needed to relieve pressure on her brain and further operations and chemotherapy treatment.

Then, just before lockdown last year, she developed pneumonia and the whole family had to shield for three months.

“Every time we’re scared that something will show up – we call it ‘scanxiety’,” said Ellie’s mother Jenna.

“It has been an emotionally exhausting journey, a bittersweet cycle of hope and despair, and we are just so thankful Julia’s House has been by our side.”

While Ellie’s latest results show that her condition is stable, she is still vulnerable and will continue to have brain scans every three months.

The care and support given to the Humphries family and others like them, is only possible thanks to the generosity of the public.

Deputy CEO at Julia’s House Mike Bartlett said: “We’re so grateful to everyone that has read Ellie’s story and donated or fundraised for our Christmas Appeal – thank you.

“It couldn’t be a more critical time for us in terms of fundraising, as we rely almost entirely on public funding.

“The money the local community has raised could help to pay for two nurses to care for children with life-limiting conditions just like Ellie – it makes all the difference to families in need, particularly as we are now back in lockdown and their isolation continues.”

During 2020, the charity was forced to cancel many of its major fundraising events. Its chain of high street shops is once again closed for the lockdown period, causing another huge financial blow for the charity.

As the restrictions due to COVID-19 continue, Julia’s House anticipates another challenging year ahead.

Mike added: “We lose £150,000 a month with our shops closed, so starting the year in lockdown has a huge impact on us financially.

“The continued support of the local community will be vital to maintaining our life-changing care and support for vulnerable children and families, keeping them safe and well at home to reduce the strain on local NHS services.”