A BABY girl from Poole will be celebrating her first Christmas at home after fighting leukaemia in hospital.

Aila Butler began intense chemotherapy in July 2022 after being diagnosed with leukaemia at just five months old.

Bournemouth Echo: She was diagnosed at just five months old

She lived at Southampton Children’s Hospital for six months with her mum and dad and completed her final cancer treatment on Christmas day last year.

Roisin Butler, her mum, said she was ‘really upset’ about Aila having to spend her first Christmas in hospital but feels ‘very lucky’ that this year she will be waking up in her own bed.

Despite still receiving treatment on Christmas day, Starlight, a charity for children’s play in hospitals and hospices, arranged for Santa to visit the youngster in hospital.

Roisin said Starlight made the day ‘magical’ and Santa delivered lots of presents to the children.

“I was really upset about having to spend her first Christmas in hospital,” said Roisin.

“It’s just not what I planned; no mum wants to spend what should be wonderful memories with their child in hospital.

“However, when it came to it, Starlight helped make it such a magical day with all her presents that we all had a lovely day to remember.

“We feel very lucky to be able to wake up this Christmas morning with our daughter in her own bed.

“Her dad and I have just bought her a toy kitchen and can’t wait for her to play with it as it was her favourite toy on the ward.

“We have so much planned for December already, including seeing the Christmas lights and lots of fun activities with her cousins and friends.”

Bournemouth Echo: Aila playing with her favourite toy on the ward, the toy kitchen

On Christmas day, Aila will be celebrating one year in remission.

Cathy Gilman, chief executive of Starlight, said: “Over 100,000 children across the UK will spend the festive period in hospital, feeling scared and missing out on Christmas celebrations.

“At Starlight, we know that play has the power to reduce fear and relieve trauma, so we want to make sure children in hospital have the opportunity to play this Christmas.”