SIX years ago, Alys Prosser had just embarked on months of gruelling treatment to try to overcome a life threatening brain tumour.
Parents Mark and Jo Prosser and sister Elinor could only wait and hope as Alys, then just four years old, underwent painstaking surgery to remove the tumour, before beginning months of chemotherapy.
But now aged 10, Alys, who lives with her family in Caerleon, is living life to the full, pursuing her love for the performing arts, and has had her check-up scans reduced to one a year.
She is also supporting a Cancer Research UK campaign to persuade people to donate unwanted clothes for the charity to sell at its shops to raise vital funds for research.
It has been a long and demanding journey for Alys and her family since the dark days around her diagnosis in February 2008 - but her mum is proud of the way her youngest daughter has battled through.
“It doesn’t feel like six years ago, and I can remember that time very clearly,” said Mrs Prosser.
“It was awful but I am so proud of Alys, the courage she has shown over the years has been completely overwhelming.
“To see her now, launching this year’s campaign, makes me proud to burst, and I am also incredibly proud of how supportive Elinor (16) has been.”
After months of feeling unwell, doctors discovered a tumour just above the top of Alys’s spine, a moment Mrs Prosser has described as being when “our world came crashing down.”
Surgeons at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, managed to remove 95 per cent of the tumour during a lengthy operation, but could not remove it completely because it was so close to her spinal cord.
As a result, Alys had to undergo bouts of chemotherapy for more than 18 months after the surgery.
“It was a gradual recovery, but Alys was very determined,” said Mrs Prosser.
At the end of 2008 Cancer Research UK gave Alys one of its Little Star awards, following a nomination from her mum, to mark her bravery in fighting cancer, and in 2010 she became one of the charity’s ‘shining lights’, her 50 feet high image being among a dozen of cancer survivors from Wales, projected onto the side Cardiff City Hall to raise awareness of a fundraising walking marathon.
Now she’s helping out Cancer Research UK again, urging people to clear out their wardrobes for its Give Up Clothes For Good campaign.
This year is the 10th anniversary of the campaign, run by the charity with discount designer goods retailer TK Maxx, and it has become the UK’s biggest charity clothing collection. Since 2004 it has raised £13.5 million for Cancer Research UK, with more than £9m going into research into children’s cancers.
“We are strongly urging people across south Wales to support Give Up Clothes for Good and go through their wardrobes, cupboards and drawers, and drop off as many unwanted items as they can to TK Maxx stores,” said Mrs Prosser.
“The items will then be passed to Cancer Research UK to be sold in the charity’s shops.”