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“I wish to go to London's Comic Con and be a VIP”
17 years old, Preston
A turbulent period of incorrect diagnoses forced 17-year-old Elsie and her family into a world of uncertainty and fear. But after an unstable period of her life, Elsie’s wish to go to Comic Con allowed her to ‘take control’ as she sets her sights on her future. As mum Jo told us, "it's given Elsie a sense of where she wants to end up - it hasn’t just been an experience; it’s been life changing."
A diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma did not come quickly for Elsie, placing the family in what mum, Jo described as "no-man's land". "There were three months of symptoms before Elsie was diagnosed", explained Mum. In October of 2019, she started experiencing rashes across her skin which led to an incorrect diagnosis of eczema. "The doctor thought that she was too well to have Hodgkin’s lymphoma", said Mum. But when Elsie's neck started to swell up, the possibility that something was very seriously wrong started to settle in for Mum and Dad.
"We didn’t believe it, we kept on trying to find different reasons. Your brain doesn’t go to childhood cancer - it doesn’t want to. I remember being in the hospital in January thinking it can't be cancer - it's the cruellest thing ever."
In January 2020, whilst undergoing a biopsy, Elise’s lung collapsed due to the weight of a tumour. According to Mum, "it was extraordinary to see the sheer scale of what her body was hiding". It was another month until Elsie received the correct diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which Mum described as a "bomb shell".
"We all really felt it", explained Mum. "Your whole world has just collapsed, it’s the worst thing that you can imagine. It feels like you’re about to lose your daughter." From that moment, it was one day at a time for Elsie and her family as "everything came to a standstill".
"Elsie was terrified", said Mum, "I couldn’t do what you instinctively do as a mother to make your daughter feel well. You just focus on that one person and try not to let your thoughts go to dark places. We couldn’t dare think about the future."
Thankfully, the future would be a brighter place for Elsie. After receiving her diagnosis in February, she started an intense trial of chemotherapy and, by June, was given the all-clear.
How Elsie's wish helped
Elsie is now a creative young woman who is applying to university, with an interest in comics and concept art. This is a future that wouldn’t have been realised without having had her wish granted. As Mum explained, "Comic Con and seeing people who share her interests has helped her realise that by going to university she will be able to meet people who are like her. It's been more than an experience - it's given Elsie a sense of where she wants to end up, it's been so inspirational for her."
"Her world was small when she was having treatment during COVID", explained Mum. Yet the scale of Comic Con, and the insight that it gave into the creative industry, has "made the world big for her again". After numerous hospital visits, incorrect diagnosis and enduring harsh treatments, Elsie was finally able to "move on from what happened, to close a chapter and look forward to the future as she chooses a university course."
Elsie’s wish also gave her the opportunity to meet one of her favourite actors – Michael Sheen - who she chatted with about one of her favourite shows Good Omens. Marvel fanatic Elsie was overwhelmed with joy when Hasbro presented her with an infinity gauntlet and Loki figurine: "It was a big highlight!" said Mum.
But for Mum, her favourite part of the day was "looking at Elsie really immerse herself in what was happening". Elsie’s wish allowed them to watch their daughter make magical memories, memories that Mum said "no one can take away".
You can enjoy a gallery of images from Elsie's wish below...
"We wouldn’t have been able to do what Make-A-Wish UK has done for Elsie. Co-ordinating it, and the time that goes in behind the scenes - on every level it’s something we wouldn’t have been able to do."
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