The community is rallying around a brave north Northumberland five-year-old with a brain tumour to support a special charity night.
Izzy Rennie, from Lesbury, was diagnosed with a rare low-grade glioma – a slow-growing tumour of which there are about 300 cases a year in the UK – just before her second birthday and has been undergoing chemotherapy ever since.
“It’s a long battle, she’s incredibly brave,” said mum Katie. “She’s started school since doing chemotherapy, but nothing stops her.
“She has to go and have needles in her chest and have brain fluid drained from around the tumour, but she just sits there and says thank you.”
Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40, but less than two per cent of the £500million spent every year on the disease is used for their research.
“This could happen to anyone,” said Katie. “Thankfully they are rare, but not rare enough and there’s not enough funding.”
Dad Scott, who serves at RAF Boulmer, added: “It’s not until you experience it, that you realise what’s out there.”
Therefore, Katie has organised a special charity night at The Alnwick Garden later this month to raise awareness and funds for the Brain Tumour Charity.
Katie said: “What you want to do is take it away, which you can’t do, so this is the next best thing, helping people who maybe one day will be able to help.”
The night features a three-course dinner, a concert from the Llanddulas Male Voice Choir – Katie’s dad is a long-term member – and a prize draw.
A number of businesses and individuals from the local community were keen to get involved and donate prizes, meaning there are some special items up for grabs.
Lesbury Olympian Laura Weightman, who raced at London 2012, has donated her Team GB vest, while Hipsburn artist Francesca Simpson has offered a signed print.
For the football fans, there is either a signed Paolo di Canio picture or, courtesy of Sir John Hall, who now lives in the area, two tickets in his VIP box for the Newcastle v Norwich match.
Other prizes from businesses in the area range from vouchers to a lawnmower.
Katie said: “I was really keen that it was all local. The furthest away is Newcastle and Sunderland.
“It’s part of us living here, because so many people know Izzy or know of her. She’s just so happy and cheerful that people are happy to help.
“We live in a small community and thank goodness that we do.”
The family, which also includes sisters Lauren, nine, and Hannah, two, is also grateful for the support that Izzy has received at Hipsburn First School, so half of the money raised will go to the school.
Plus the Llanddulas choir will perform there for parents, pupils and staff on the Sunday after the charity night.
Katie said: “The school has been incredibly supportive which is why we are splitting the fund-raising with them.
“We have never wanted Izzy to be seen as any different, which is why she’s in mainstream schooling.
“They have done so many things in providing materials and equipment so the least we can do is split the proceeds to help the school.
“If we can help like this, then everyone benefits.”
Due to the tumour, Izzy has mobility issues in her right arm and leg, for which she wears a splint. She also has no vision from the centre to the right side in either eye.
“Her movement may get better and stronger as she gets older,” Katie explained. “They don’t really know what she will be like when she’s an adult, but they have told us we will have her as an adult.”
But it doesn’t stop Izzy getting out and about and she loves riding horses through hippotherapy and also wants to learn to play the ukelele.
“It’s about finding things that make her life better,” said Katie. “The key to everything is to get her feeling she is just a kid getting on with being a kid.”