The family of a brave young cancer sufferer gave an emotional thanks to pupils who helped raise over £10,000 to send them to Disney World.
Ashlee Easton, from Brightons, spent most of last year in hospital being treated for stage 4 neuroblastoma, including a stem cell transplant.
But she is now in recovery and leading the life of a normal, happy eight-year-old.
The family had to split up for Ashlee’s hospital stay – mum Lisa (41) gave up her job to live with the youngster in Yorkhill, while dad Donald (47) looked after big brother Jayden (10) at home.
Since her diagnosis in February 2013, determined pupils at Wallacestone Primary embarked on a mission to raise enough money to send their schoolmate and her family on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday to Disney when she recovered.
And, after reading of her plight on The Falkirk Herald website last year, big-hearted New York business executive Bart McDade – who’d moved to the US from Camelon when he was 11 – pledged, along with friends, to give $5000, over £2900, and the use of his apartment near the Disney resort for the holiday.
Last Thursday the family was presented with a cheque totalling £10,760 from the combined fundraising efforts at an emotional school assembly.
Mum Lisa choked back tears as she thanked the children and everyone who had donated and supported the family with good wishes throughout their harrowing time.
She said: “The Easton family would like to say a huge thank you to each and every person who has supported us during Ashlee’s battle.”
“However small or large the gesture we have been overwhelmed by the kindness shown by Wallacestone staff, pupils, parents, the whole community and the generosity of Mr Bart McDade. It would have been so much harder for us to go through this without all the support.
“We thank the pupils in Wallacestone Primary who made Ashlee feel normal by not standing and staring at her bald head and feeding tube. They all welcomed her back into school, happy to see her, reducing me to tears because we were extremely proud of them and their reaction to her.
“We could never say thank you enough for setting up the ‘Ashlee’s Disney Fund’, a gesture which kept Ashlee going throughout her treatment knowing at the end of this terrible journey would be a fantastic holiday of a lifetime.
“That holiday will also be a special treat for Ashlee’s brother Jayden who has had to suffer the awful disruption to his home life, being apart from his mum and little sister and he coped so well throughout it all.
“We are so grateful for everything people have done for us and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts.”
The family is now planning to take the trip to Florida some time in October.
Mr McDade said: “I am happy to hear that Ashlee can now focus on going to Disney World after a very long and difficult year of medical treatments. I just visited Disney World last month with my grandchildren, it truly is ‘The Magic Kingdom’. I am sure that Ashlee and her brother will have wonderful memories after they make their trip.”
Wallacestone Primary head teacher Margaret MacDonald assured the family they would not have to worry about Ashlee taking time off school to make the trip.
She added: “We are all so glad Ashlee is back with us and enjoying school again. We’d like to thank everyone for all their amazing efforts in raising the money for such a wonderful family. I think they deserve a nice holiday.”