“The world felt like it stopped when I sat in front of the consultant and heard the words: ‘Your daughter has cancer.’”
As a mother, these words bring tears to my eyes. My stomach tightens. I cannot fathom someone saying this about one of my kids. But for so many parents, this nightmare has become a reality. These are the words spoken by Louise Miles, who heard the dreaded truth 13 years ago when her then-4-year-old daughter Katy was diagnosed with a type of kidney cancer called Wilms’ Tumor.
As a young patient, Katy spent 10 months in and out of hospitals while receiving treatment, and ended up having a kidney removed. But now, as a vibrant 17-year-old, Katy continues to live a healthy life and share her inspiring story. And one way that Katy has decided to give back is by running.
In a recent feature story on Teenage Cancer Trust, Katy shared: “My dad and I chose to take on the Great North Run with #TeamTeenageCancer, raising money for Teenage Cancer Trust, to help support other young people like me who have been diagnosed with cancer across the UK.”
But merely running the race alongside her dad wasn’t going to cut it.
“When I was having my chemotherapy at 4 years old, I always dressed as my favorite Disney princess Cinderella, to help keep me smiling,” Katy explained.
So what better way to honor and celebrate that strong 4-year-old little girl she once was — and to provide inspiration and hope for other kids enduring cancer treatments and fighting for their lives — then to now run the race dressed like Cinderella?
As it turned out though, running a half-marathon in a Cinderella dress is no easy feat.
“After running I was completely shattered but I really enjoyed it,” she shared in the post. “I especially loved my sit down and drink in the Teenage Cancer Trust marquee at the end! I nearly lost my shoe, just like Cinderella, at Mile 3 when my lace came undone, but managed to keep it on — maybe that’s why I didn’t find my Prince Charming!”
Katy’s mother Louise also opened up about how hard it was to watch her daughter endure treatments.
“You want the best possible support for your child when they’re diagnosed and it breaks my heart to think that some young people aren’t getting the vital support they need,” she said. “[But] I’m so proud Katy has chosen to run and fundraise for other young people and know that every penny raised will help to make a difference and help ensure every young person can be supported in the future.”
Katy also admits that she sees herself as fortunate to have had cancer at age 4, rather than as a teen.
“I was lucky,” she shared. “Because I was just little at the time, I can’t remember loads of what it felt like going through cancer treatment. I can only imagine how hard it would be to have cancer as a teenager, when most of your life is just starting and you’re just beginning to gain your independence, having everything turned upside down.”
Ultimately, she hopes that by raising money and inspiring others she can help lift up the spirits of kids and even teens who are ill, to show them what life might look like once they’ve beaten it.
Katy initially set a goal of raising £800 (roughly $1,070 in American dollars), but she was overjoyed to learn she smashed her goal by raising £1,116 (about $1,495)! And although the race is over, she’s still continuing to bring in more donations. (In fact, you can still donate to Katy’s fundraising page right here.)
Thank you, Katy, for helping others with your perseverance and inspiring us all with your story! Oh, and also for showing little girls everywhere that Cinderella doesn’t actually need a Prince Charming, after all — she’s pretty tough all on her own.