As part of its Christmas of Happiness campaign and thanks to ICAP’s support on Charity Day 2011, Starlight (the UK’s leading wish granting charity for children with serious and terminal illnesses) fulfilled the dearest Christmas wish of six year old identical twin Megan Garwood from Rougham, near Bury St Edmunds.
Sleigh bells ring in Lapland for Megan & Gracie. Megan and her twin sister Gracie have been fighting leukaemia together since they were diagnosed within a few days of each other back in September 2009. Their mum, Emma, describes it as a “living nightmare”.
We had just come back from holiday and suddenly Megan couldn't walk or do all the usual lively things she normally did. I still just assumed she had a bug. You never think anything this bad could happen to you. But suddenly the doctor was telling me that my daughter had cancer and we were being rushed to Addenbrooke's in an ambulance with all the blue lights flashing. And then at midnight we watched her begin an intense course of chemotherapy.
Just days later and Megan’s sister Gracie was also diagnosed with the life-threatening disease and ever since they have been bravely fighting the illness together.
As a result of their condition, Megan and Gracie know all too well how miserable it is to be poorly at Christmas. Emma says, “Both girls had to have chemotherapy at home on Christmas day, which was heartbreaking; their father was being Father Christmas one minute and then he had to give them chemo the next.”
Both girls were referred to Starlight for a once-in-a-lifetime wish each, and Megan chose to go to Lapland with her family to meet the real Santa. Each year Starlight sends a group of families to Luosto, which is a traditional Finnish resort that offers a magical Lapland experience, and Megan and her family were able to join Starlight’s sixth annual trip in their quest to meet Santa and his elves.
Megan, Gracie, their parents Mark and Emma and little sister Martha spent a delightful three days in Lapland, where they enjoyed riding in snowmobiles, meeting the reindeer and, of course, making their requests to Santa. The family drank warming cups of berry juice around the campfire, made snowmen, threw snowballs and went sledging. By granting Megan’s wish, Starlight brought some much-needed fun, laughter and happy memories to her and her family just in time for Christmas.
The twins mum Emma said, “Megan, Gracie and Martha had the most amazing time in Lapland and we can’t thank Starlight enough for such fantastic memories. To bring a bit of normality in to Megan’s life through these tough times in such a magical way has been truly special. Starlight made it possible for us to have the most amazing few days away whilst on treatment, which has been a fantastic family experience.”
On behalf of the Garwood’s and all the other families Starlight were able to grant magical wishes for over the festive season, a huge thank you to ICAP and everyone who supported their Charity Day 2011!