The gift of life - Best birthday present ever as Jade, 14, beats cancer

Jade with mum Helen and dad Andre
Jade with mum Helen and dad Andre

A brave Horncastle student has been given the gift of life after winning an incredible battle against cancer - just days before her 15th birthday.

Jade Petrie, a pupil at Banovallum School, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in November 2012.

After undergoing months of often painful treatment, the teenager was given the all clear earlier this month.

It proved to be a case of perfect timing as Jade will celebrate her 15th birthday on March 11.

In an exclusive interview, Jade revealed the torment she and her family had been through - and her determination to make the most of the rest of her life.

Jade, who lives in Coningsby, said she thought “her world had ended” when she was diagnosed.

She added: “I’d never really been ill before but I was always determined to fight it.

“There have been difficult days but I never lost hope.

“I had been feeling a lot better so I was hoping for good news and when the specialist told me I was in the clear it was brilliant. Now, I just want to get on with the rest of my life.”

Jade has nothing but praise for the support she’s received from her parents, mum Helen and dad Andre.

She added: “They’ve been amazing. They’ve always been there and given up so much.”

She thanked medical staff, family members and friends, especially pupils and staff at Banovullum School.

Incredibly, she’d started at the school just three weeks before she was diagnosed.

Jade, who will sit her GSCE’s next year and hopes to become a vet, said: “The school has been fantastic, especially Miss Shore (headteacher Nicki Shore).

“They’ve been so understanding and so supportive.

“My friends have been brilliant as well.”

Jade hopes her amazing success story will inspire others.

She added: “It just shows what you can do, if you keep believing.”

The majority of Jade’s treatment took place in a specialist children’s cancer facility at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.

The two-year battle effectively meant putting her life on hold and even restricted what she could eat, as one of the many side effects was diabetes.

Not surprisingly, she is now baking and tucking into cakes.

She has also started swimming again and has drawn up a ‘bucket list’ of other things she wants to achieve.

Mum Helen said: “We’re just so proud. I can’t really describe what she has been through but even on the really bad days, she’d always have a smile.

“Whatever happened, she’d say: ‘I’ll be okay mum’. That’s what has kept us going.”

The family hope to go on a deserved foreign holiday this summer.

However, Jade’s ultimate dream is to travel to America to meet the cast and crew of the hit TV series ‘Teen Wolf’ as part of a two week holiday in Los Angeles, which will also feature trips to Disneyworld and Universal.

The ‘dream’ is being backed by the charity, When You Wish Upon a Star.

Joanne Wright, the charity’s area manager, said: “When I met Jade and her family, she so made me want to make her dream come true.

“As a family, they have been through so very much, but they have always been very positive and, as her mum told me, found a reason to laugh every day during treatment.

“Jade is unbelievably brave but it is also great credit to her that she has remained focussed on her education.

“This week alone, we have received ‘wishes’ to the tune of £13,500 from children in Boston and Sleaford and, of course Jade.

“What I would like to do is encourage the people of the area to come forward and, if possible, try and help us in some way to make Jade’s dream come true.”

The Petrie family and friends are determined to help as well.

They have already raised funds for the Queen’s Medical Centre and Jade is planning to speak to Banovallum School about another special fundraising day.