Parents' praise for daughter battling rare form of cancer
THE parents of a little girl battling a form of cancer rare among children have praised her "amazing" bravery.
Jazmine Jones, 8, of Bransholme, is undergoing chemotherapy after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Fewer than 80 children in the UK are diagnosed with the condition each year and the majority of them are boys.
Her parents Lee Jones and Aimee Vincent say they are taking each day as it comes after being told the heartbreaking news.
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Lee, 36, said: "You think you're prepared when you're told it could be cancer but nothing could prepare you for this – it's devastating.
"The only thing that keeps us going is how positive Jazmine is. She's a very popular and witty little girl.
"When she lost all her long hair and started wearing a bandana I was worried about her being at school.
"But she came running to me at the end of the day with a big smile on her face saying she'd whipped it off in the playground."
A lump was found in Jazmine's groin some months ago and she was taken to hospital, where doctors began tests.
Lee said: "They originally thought it was a hernia but couldn't find out what it was at first.
"They rang us up and said, 'tell Jaz not to worry'.
"But the lump then grew and she had to have a biopsy, after which she was diagnosed in July with non-Hodgkin's.
"She has had two cycles of chemotherapy and will complete six altogether, which will hopefully be finished by December.
"At first you are in denial and you just think 'this can't happen to our little girl'.
"When you see the children in hospital dealing with this it makes you feel ashamed to worry about small problems."
Consultants at Leeds General Infirmary, where Jazmine is being treated every three weeks, said they only see about one child every three years with the disease.
She has an uncommon and aggressive form of non-Hodgkin's called anaplastic large-cell lymphoma.
Jazmine, a pupil at Cavendish Primary School, celebrated her eighth birthday this week but couldn't have a party for fear of her catching a cold from any of her friends.
Aimee, 29, said: "She's been really poorly with tonsillitis and has even been coughing up blood.
"Any type of illness brings her down but she did well on her birthday. She got an iPod and quite a lot of other presents.
"When she's in hospital she's okay for a few days but she gets very fed up and just wants to be at home."
Aimee's uncle Mark Long is helping to organise a 72-hour football match to raise money for a family holiday in Florida.
Jazmine is a big fan of fairytales and it would be a dream come true to visit Walt Disney World.
Mark, 48, of east Hull, said: "She's a brilliant young girl and we're just trying not to think of the worst that could happen.
"We just hope she gets better as soon as possible and is well enough to go to Walt Disney World."
Mark, who is organising the match with his brother Neil, is appealing for people to take part in the five-a-side football match at Soccer Sensations, off Preston Road, east Hull, from Thursday, October 4 until Sunday, October 7.
Aimee said: "Sometimes when she hits rock bottom you just want to wrap her in cotton wool.
"But she's very brave and has dealt with this amazingly – always with a smile on her face."
Anyone who is interested in taking part in the match can call Mark on 07543 552955.