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Norwich Castle to light up gold in memory of 10-year-old cancer victim

PUBLISHED: 07:34 04 September 2018 | UPDATED: 08:11 04 September 2018

Emily, whom Norwich Castle is being lit up gold for. Photo. Melinda Fitzpatrick

Emily, whom Norwich Castle is being lit up gold for. Photo. Melinda Fitzpatrick

Archant

A mum was overcome with emotion when friends with hearts of gold sprang a surprise in memory of her beloved daughter.

Kids Cancer poster showing sign's to look for in children. Picture. Childhood Cancer AwarenessKids Cancer poster showing sign's to look for in children. Picture. Childhood Cancer Awareness

Norwich Castle will glow gold for a week this month to remember Emily Gibson, 10, who died after a long battle with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML).

The gesture was organised by the friends of Melinda Fitzpatrick, Emily’s mother, from Norwich, who said: “My friends knew how important this cause is to me and without me knowing they contacted the Castle.

We had a get together for my birthday in April, they gave me an envelope: inside was a card showing the castle lit up, with the dates for a week in September. I was so overwhelmed, I cried.”

Emily’s battle began in January 2015 when she was eight. She was in hospital for five months for her initial treatment, which included four courses of chemotherapy, operations, bone marrow biopsies, lumbar punctures, and countless blood and platelet transfusions.

Miss Fitzpatrick said: “Between chemotherapy courses Em always chose to spend that time with family, friends and even going to school.

“She had been back for a couple of weeks before a blood test showed that the leukaemia had returned.”

She went to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge in January 2016 for relapse treatment, and to find a suitable bone marrow donor.

Miss Fitzpatrick said: “We were a little nervous for the transplant, but this was going to be the start of Em’s beautiful, new, cancer-free life.

“Sadly, this wasn’t the case. A bone marrow biopsy showed that the leukaemia had once again returned - this time, we were out of options.”

Emily passed away in May 2016 after her year-long battle with AML.

Miss Fitzpatrick said: “Leukaemia stole Emily’s dreams and her childhood. It stole her from me.

“Unfortunately Emily’s story isn’t a unique one, she was one of three children from Addenbrooke’s who all had their transplants within a few weeks of each other - none of those children survived.

“Before Emily was diagnosed I knew very little about childhood cancer: I’m now making it my mission to spread awareness.”

Norwich Castle will light up gold for Emily between Saturday September 9 and 16.

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