When you find out you have cancer, you have the choice to be brave or to let the fear overcome you. Needless to say, 6-year-old Anna Otley is definitely a fighter.
Children battling cancer have to be some of the bravest people in the world. Discovering you have a life-threatening disease so young is hard to fully understand. Even for the parents.
Last November, Anya’s father, Andy, found a bizarre lump on her stomach and rushed her straight to the hospital. Conducting blood tests, doctors confirmed that the melon-sized lump was cancerous. Anya was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumor, a rare form of kidney cancer, and she immediately started treatment.
I’m so glad we caught it when we did otherwise we might be telling a very different story right now, I dare not think about it really. She knew something was wrong and she did ask me if she was going to die, which was heartbreaking, but I told her she wouldn’t and she’s been so incredibly brave and strong.
Surgery managed to shrink the tumor to half its size and she had a kidney removed, but that was only the beginning. Anya went through intensive chemotherapy to shrink the remaining tumor, resulting in her losing her hair. Despite the Little Princess Trust donating her a wig, Anya doesn’t wear it. She doesn’t feel the need to hide her cancer.
I tried to stay really calm for her when she was admitted to Manchester because I didn’t want her to see me get upset… She even takes the chemotherapy in her stride. It makes her sick but she tells me it’s not too bad for her and that other children on the ward are much sicker.
Anya continues to prove her bravery every day, and in this recent video that has gone viral, her strength shines through. At a recent wedding, Anya grabbed the DJ’s microphone and belted out Rachel Platten’s hit song, ‘Fight Song’. She performed it like a true pro and the words had so much meaning that onlookers couldn’t help wiping tears from their eyes.
Anya’s performance shows just how serious she is about kicking cancer’s butt and winning the fight. Her chemotherapy treatment is due to finish on the 9th of July, so keep your fingers crossed for Anya that she will win this battle. Anya intends to sing this same song when she gets to ‘ring the bell’ at the end of her treatment.
Her performance at the wedding brought a tear to my eye and to several others in the room. It was fantastic to watch her and it made me so proud.