Santa fulfils Fraja's Christmas wish

The Northern Echo: Fraja with Santa in Lapland Fraja with Santa in Lapland

A FIVE-YEAR-OLD girl battling a rare cancer has had Christmas dream fulfilled after meeting Santa at his Lapland home.

Fraja Simpson, who has undergone a series of gruelling treatments for MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma, was taken by charity When You Wish Upon A Star to northern Finland.

The Northern Echo:

The Leeming RAF Community Primary School pupil joined 90 children with life-threatening illnesses and a paramedic team on the day trip which featured reindeer and huskie-led sleigh rides through snow-covered forests and a meeting with elves sorting children's letters in Santa's post office.

Fraja's mother, Michelle, said while her daughter found the speed of the huskie rides and an ice slide thrilling, being able make lots of snow angels and meeting Santa had been the highlight. She said: "It was out of this world, Fraja had the most fantastic time. It was wonderful to watch her face, she grinned like crazy.

"Everything was just like you picture Santa to be, it was a once in a lifetime trip.

"I didn't hear what she said to Santa, but I know she asked him for a special present, a dog, as her chocolate Labrador Maddy died last year."

Mrs Simpson said Fraja was so exhausted from the excitement that she slept through a reception given by a choir and celebrities, including Denise Welch, at Humberside Airport.

The family is planning a quiet Christmas at home after recent tests revealed the remaining part of Fraja's tumour, which she has named Bob, had remained stable.

Only 30 to 40 per cent of children with neuroblastoma survive and the odds of a full recovery are significantly less for youngsters with the MCYN gene.

Fraja's father, Garry, who hails from Consett and is a flight sergeant with 90 Signals at RAF Leeming, thanked the thousands of fundraisers and donors who have contributed 150,000 towards the 500,000 drive to enable his daughter to receive pioneering treatment in the United States in the event of her relapsing.

He said forthcoming events include a masquerade ball at the Derwent Manor Hotel, Allensford, near Consett, on Saturday, February 15.

The event, tickets for which cost 25, will include a three-course meal, an auction and a disco, and entertainment by Lee Brannigan and The Buskers.

For tickets, call 07858 045875 or email frajaellieappeal@yahoo.co.uk For details about how to contribute to the fundraising drive, visit facebook. com/Fraja EllieAppeal.

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