Birthday girl is Liv-ing it up

LORNA MARSH Ask most teenagers what one experience they would wish for themselves and the likely answers might be a fortnight in Florida, the chance to be a stage star or to follow their favourite band on tour.

LORNA MARSH

Ask most teenagers what one experience they would wish for themselves and the likely answers might be a fortnight in Florida, the chance to be a stage star or to follow their favourite band on tour.

But all Livvy Grosvenor wanted was for her family and friends to share a party she would never forget.

For Livvy, who has battled a brain tumour since she was aged three, celebrated her 14th birthday last night in style at a “star” studded shindig at a Norwich club.

She was given the opportunity by the Make-A-Wish Foundation which gives children and young people fighting life-threatening illnesses their dream experience.

Many youngsters choose to have computer equipment, meet their idol, act out their dream job or go on the holiday of a lifetime.

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But for Livvy, who lives in Weybourne with her family including sister Molly, 12, and seven-year-old brother Albert, the most important thing was for her close ones to share the experience with her.

After one Norwich club had to cancel her wish because they had been forced to close unexpectedly the Loft stepped in providing the celebrity treatment for the teenager, her friends and family.

The party was no ordinary one either - guests were asked to dress as someone famous with the crowd in the club resembling a random assortment of A-listers.

Chocolate fountains, a gourmet buffet, flaming soft cocktails, glowing straws and gifts were just some of the things that made them feel like stars too.

But Livvy, looking like the double of pop starlet Kelly Osbourne, was the undisputed scene stealer, emerging from her stretch limo on to the red carpet to cheers and applause from a 140-strong crowd.

She said the moment had been “amazing”.

“I love parties. I can't travel long-distance at the moment and I've been to a lot of places already so I thought I just want a party, I want to see everyone enjoying themselves, ” said Livvy, who goes to Woodfield School in Sheringham.

Her mother Jody Van der Heiden said it had been wonderful to see her daughter celebrate her 14th birthday so spectacularly.

The teenager has endured 30 operations since she was diagnosed, with three lots of surgery so far this year alone to clear the hydrocephalus that has become more of a problem than the tumour.

Ms Van der Heiden said: “It was devastating when she was diagnosed at three so to see all this and her enjoying herself is fabulous. We tend to live for every day but she is such a brave girl, she is so good about coping with it all, there are things that I know I would struggle with.

“She has always got headaches and always feels unwell and one of the things she has had to come to terms with is that this is her life. Hopefully it doesn't get any worse.”

Natalie Martin-Loat, regional manager for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, said it was the first teenage party that she had seen requested since she started work for the organisation a year ago.

“We do have parties for younger children but this is the only teenage clubbing one I have helped with. Livvy has been very involved every step of the way though, she's really wanted to make sure everything is exactly right.”

Stuart Grisedale, manager of the Loft, which opened a week ahead of schedule especially for the party girl following its refurbishment, said: “Tonight's party is a huge feat for us… the smile on Livvy's face when she looked around made all our work worthwhile.”

MAKE-A-WISH

Make-A-Wish grants wishes to children and young people aged from three to 17 fighting life-threatening illnesses and this year celebrates 21 years of wish-giving.

It was founded in the UK in June 1986 and, since then, we has granted more than 4,400 wishes.

The charity's aim by 2010 is to every week grant wishes for 21 out of the 20,000 plus children in the UK living with life-threatening conditions.

Recent wishes include meeting Cinderella on a VIP long weekend in London, going to see Santa and getting a new laptop.

The charity relies on public donations.

t Visit www.make-a-wish.org.uk

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