Catie Hynes loves to play with her family like any other nine-year-old girl.
The St Joseph’s Primary pupil is happiest when she’s spending time with her sisters Orla (3) and Iona (6) and mum Jennifer.
They provide her with the support she needs as she recovers from a life-threatening illness.
Last September Catie was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer.
After eight gruelling months of chemotherapy at the ‘Sick Kids’ in Edinburgh, the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, she is now back home in Bonnybridge and is on a phased-return to school.
It’s been an emotional journey for the entire family, according to Jennifer.
She said: “Catie was a very active child. Her illness came on quite suddenly.
“She began complaining about a pain in her knee at the beginning of the summer, but it went away, and she enjoyed the family holiday to Majorca pain free, playing with her sisters as normal.
“In September she began to complain about the pain again, and her leg started swelling.
“One morning as she was getting ready for school her leg just broke and she fell down the stairs. The pain she was suffering was so bad that she had to be transferred from Stirling Royal to the Sick Kids in Edinburgh.
“I was still in shock when the orthopaedic surgeon sat me down and told me that they thought it was likely to be cancer.”
The devastating news arrived just one day after Catie’s ninth birthday.
Jennifer decided to share Catie’s experience to promote Sarcoma Awareness Week, which runs until June 19.
The campaign aims to focus attention on this rare and devastating form of cancer.
It accounts for one per cent of cancer cases diagnosed, affecting around 3400 people in the UK each year.
The majority of sarcomas affect the limbs, most commonly the leg.
Osteosarcoma is the eighth most common form of cancer affecting children. Its causes are unknown.
Jennifer said that Catie faced her illness with incredible bravery.
“She never once complained even though she has been through eight months of operations. She’s in remission now and her hair is beginning to return, which is something she’s obviously delighted about.”
Jennifer said that she was extremely grateful for the help and support given by the Edinburgh-based charity CCLASP, which provides support for the families of children with cancer.
She said: “They gave us the opportunity to use their holiday cottage. It saved me, I was so tired. Their support has been fantastic.”