Brave Izzi from Stevenage to celebrate beating leukaemia with Disney World Florida trip
PUBLISHED: 08:30 15 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:43 15 November 2017
The dreams of a five-year-old girl from Stevenage have come true in time for Christmas in the most incredible way.
Little Izzi Ferns has beaten cancer and – thanks to a major fundraising effort by her friends and family – is all booked up to go to Walt Disney World in Florida in the new year to celebrate.
Izzi was diagnosed with leukaemia last year – undergoing gruelling bouts of chemotherapy and steroid treatment.
Her mum Kerry Bannister’s cousins, Dean and Adam Bannister, banded together a 24-strong group of family and friends – including Izzi’s dad Jon, 32, to take part in the Tough Mudder 2016 obstacle course.
They hoped that competing in the 12-mile challenge in April last year, combined with other money-spinning events including a six-a-side football tournament and a fitness fundraising day, would allow them to raise £10,000 to send Izzi, two-year-old sister Emma and their parents on “a magical and laughter-filled trip” to the Florida resort.
Now Dean has revealed that he and his friends smashed their target and raised a grand total of £12,000 for the trip, which has been booked for January.
They waited until Izzi got the all clear this October – and rang the special golden bell at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital to celebrate on Halloween – before booking the trip for May next year.
Dean told the Comet: “We wanted to book the trip to Disney World as something for Izzi to look forward to while she had all the treatment, but now she’s been given the all-clear.
“For me I really just felt so sorry for her having the illness that young and we just wanted to put a smile on her face.”
He added: “It’s just nice to know that everyone pulled together to raise that much money.
“The Tough Mudder was pretty tough as you would expect. It was 12 miles with all kinds of obstacles and a lot of us hadn’t done anything like that before.”
Kerry, 28, said: “It’s absolutely amazing she’s had the all-clear. It’s still a little bit scary as there’s always a chance of a relapse, but she’s out of the rough as much as she can be now.
“To watch them do the Tough Mudder and all the other things has been really touching. I can’t thank them enough.
“Izzi’s already been packing even though it’s not until May.
“She’s a bit of a thrill seeker so she’s looking forward to going on every roller coaster possible.
“We’re going to make sure it’s a really special trip.”
Izzi’s grandparents, auntie and uncle will also accompany her on the trip of a lifetime.
Izzi was treated mainly at Addebrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, as well as at Lister. As part of her remission she will under regular reviews until she is an adult.