Brave Caitlyn to cycle for charity

Caitlyn (left) with mother Sue, father Rhys and brother Thomas.

A BRAVE youngster who battled a brain tumour will be among those taking part in a charity cycle ride.

The bike ride will take place on Sunday, August 22, around Rutland Water and is being organised by the charity Anna’s Hope, which supports children and young people with brain tumours. Anna’s Hope was founded by Rob and Carole Hughes, of Pilsgate near Barnack, who started the charity in memory of their daughter Anna who died of a brain tumour in 2006 aged three. So far, dozens of people have signed up to take part in the annual ride and among those that will be doing their bit for the charity is five-year-old Caitlyn Williams.

Caitlyn, who lives in Parnwell, Peterborough with her parents Sue and Rhys and brother Thomas, eight, was diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was just three-years-old. She underwent an operation, a gruelling course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy and during her treatment. She also contracted meningitis. Caitlyn finished treatment at the beginning of this year. She had her last MRI scan in March and another one is due in September but her family is hopeful it will come back clear, meaning the tumour has gone. Sue, who is Caitlyn’s full-time carer, says the help of Anna’s Hope during Caitlyn’s treatment has been absolutely invaluable, especially specialist paediatric neuro-oncology nurse Alison Mitchell based at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge who was employed by the charity in 2008.

Sue, 36, said: “In the beginning Caitlyn was very poorly and we had all these discussions about how her treatment would be dealt with. Never having had any dealings in medicine, it was like a foreign language to us so almost every day we saw Alison. “She would explain things to us and break it down into terms that were easy to understand.”

During her treatment, Caitlyn was fitted with a central line to enable her to eat and the nurse visited Caitlyn’s nursery and school Parnwell Primary, when she started last September, to show staff how to use it. Sue said: “It was because of the nurse that Caitlyn has been able to go to school. She is such a sociable little girl and she really wanted to be at school despite how poorly she was and Alison made it possible for her. “Caitlyn is now doing fantastically well and that is due in part to the nurse and in turn Anna’s Hope.”

Sue and her husband Rhys, 39, will be cycling the route along with Thomas, while Caitlyn will be in a trailgator on the back of her dad’s bike. Sue said: “Anna’s Hope has done so much for us as a family and we want to do our bit for them. “I think it will be a really good day for any family but it will be especially poignant for us.”

If you want to take part in the ride fill in the coupon and return it by Monday, August 16.

With thanks to the Stamford Mercury for allowing permission to use the article. The original piece appeared in the Mercury on Friday August 6th 2010.