Young East Sussex Cancer Patient Receives Surprise From Hero, Matthew Lewis

A teenage cancer patient from East Sussex has received a special surprise from Harry Potter actor, Matthew Lewis, as part of Children with Cancer UK’s ‘Heroes Against Cancer’ initiative.

 Sophia Hodge from Bexhill, East Sussex, was diagnosed with Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in 2019, at just 9-years-old.

Acute myeloid leukaemia is a cancer of the white blood cells. Around 80 new cases of childhood AML are diagnosed every year in the UK, which accounts for over 15% of children’s leukaemia cancer cases.

Following her diagnosis, Sophia endured six months of gruelling treatment which included three rounds of intense chemotherapy. Although in 2019, Sophia rang the end of treatment bell, signalling the completion of her cancer treatment, her cancer sadly returned in May 2022.

As part of her relapse treatment, Sophia, who is now 14-years-old, underwent severe treatment including a bone marrow transplant in February 2023 and spent one month in intensive care. Sophia’s relapse treatment finished in July 2023 and she will be closely monitored by doctors for years to come.

To recognise the courage and resilience of all young cancer patients, Children with Cancer UK is helping to create unforgettable moments for young people and their families as part of its ‘Heroes Against Cancer’ initiative.

Since the age of 6, Sophia has been a huge fan of Harry Potter. As part of this year’s ‘Heroes Against Cancer’ campaign, Sophia received a surprise message from Matthew Lewis, the much-loved actor who played Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter film series.

Matthew Lewis, English Actor

Sophia’s mum Victoria comments: “From such a young age, Sophia has been a huge fan of Harry Potter, and has collected anything related to the iconic films and books.

“No matter what is thrown at her – chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, learning to walk again, relentless scans and tests – Sophia has faced it all head on, she is a true warrior and heroine in every sense of the word.

“Throughout her journey, the Harry Potter films and books have brought her so much joy and have provided her with a sense of escapism during her ongoing tough treatment. Sophia was absolutely amazed to receive the special message from Matthew and has kept replaying it. His kind words of support have provided her with a real sense of encouragement for her journey ahead.

“We’re incredibly proud of the strength, resilience and courage Sophia has shown and continues to show during her treatment, and we hope that sharing our story will help raise awareness and understanding of childhood cancer and highlight the importance of new scientific research to help beat this devastating disease.”

As part of its ‘Heroes Against Cancer’ campaign, Children with Cancer UK grants the wishes of young cancer patients across the UK as they receive a surprise from their personal ‘hero’, with a specially recorded video message or a meet-and-greet in person.

After inviting patient families to nominate their child and their personal hero, the charity received more than 50 requests and the Children with Cancer UK team have been working hard behind-the-scenes to make the dreams of the many children they support come true and provide a moment of fun and excitement for them and their loved ones.

Children with Cancer UK is the leading national children’s charity working towards a world where every child survives cancer. Amar Naher, CEO of Children with Cancer UK, said: “Our ‘Heroes Against Cancer’ initiative is all about creating truly special moments for young cancer patients, just like Sophia, and their families.

“As well as funding ground-breaking scientific research into the treatment and causes of childhood cancer, we’re also committed to providing ongoing support for young cancer patients. Offering experiences such as this is so important in helping to create a moment of fun, excitement and respite for patients and their families, and we’re determined to make even more wishes come true.”

Patient families are invited to nominate their child, and their child’s personal hero, for a chance to be involved in ‘Heroes Against Cancer’. To make a nomination and for further information about Children with Cancer UK, please visit Heroes Against Cancer | Children with Cancer UK.

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