A SIX-YEAR-OLD girl who is battling three types of cancer has been hailed an inspiration by her dad for managing to raise a smile every day despite her illness.
Little Tia Taggart is ‘facing the fight of her life’ as she undergoes a gruelling course of chemotherapy for tumours in her pelvis and legs as well as rounds of radiotherapy to treat her bone and lung cancers.
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The treatment will leave the Padiham St John the Baptist Primary School pupil infertile, with doctors warning her heartbroken parents the cancers have a 50 per cent chance of returning even if they are wiped out.
But despite her ill health Tia, who lives in Padiham, has been described as a ‘brave and happy little girl who smiles every day’.
Dad Lee Taggart, who is Tia’s full-time carer, said: “She is constantly happy.
“Everything that has happened and is happening to her does not seem to phase her at all.
“My wife Gillian and I’s world just fell in when we were given the diagnosis but Tia has never stopped smiling.
“She has been through so much and has been so brave.”
The family have received lots of support from family and friends since receiving the devastating diagnosis in October, last year.
Tia was told she was suffering from a rare Ewings Sarcoma as well as bone and lung cancers after several visits to the GP and hospital with concerning growing pains.
A fundraising group to raise £1,500 to pay for Tia’s future treatment, rehabilitation and everyday needs has now been set up.
Mr Taggart, 41, said: “The main thing for us is that the diagnosis at the moment is not terminal.
“You have to stay positive otherwise you would not be able to get out of bed in the morning.
“You also have to be positive for Tia as she is our world.”
The youngster, who lives with her mum, dad, and elder sister Keegan, nine, in Herbert Street, started the first of eight rounds of chemotherapy for the rare Ewings Sarcoma tumour on Monday but had a bad reaction and suffered four seizures the next day.
She will also undergo around 15 rounds of radiotherapy for the cancer in her bones and lungs at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and at The Christie.
The community has rallied to the family’s aid since the diagnosis with firefighters in Padiham set to hold a fundraising event at the town’s Tesco store on Saturday, March 12, and on Sunday, March 13.
Crew members will take part in a ‘treadmill-athon’ from 9am to 2pm each day following a sponsored car wash last weekend. So far £430 has been raised.
Alan Ashworth, Padiham watch manager, said: “When we heard about Tia’s story we knew that we wanted to do whatever we could to show our support for Tia and her family.
“Going through what they’re going through can’t be easy and given that Tia very often has to travel to hospitals as far away as Birmingham the financial burden must be a strain too, but this is something we may be able to help with.”
Tia, who is in Year Two, has been supported by St John the Baptist Primary School which has asked parents to ‘pray for her recovery’ in a recent school newsletter.
The family are hoping that she will recover enough from the treatment for them to take her on a dream holiday to reward her for being brave, a hope they have been unable to fulfill because her frequent hospital visits make her ineligible for travel insurance.
Mr Taggart said: “The school has been really supportive and she really enjoys it when she is able to go in for a few days here and there.
“We are hoping that that will continue but we don’t know how she will react to this new treatment.
“Some of the staff are going to dye their hair after half term to raise some money for her which I think is fantastic.
“We can’t thank those who have supported us enough.
“We are not trying to make money off this at all. The money will just help us travel down to Manchester for her treatment which is happening more and more and is a financially very tough.”
For more information or to donate visit crowdfunding.justgiving.com/Tia-Taggert