Dare devil mum takes plunge for daughter

DARING mum Charlotte Norman abseiled Ipswich's tallest building to raise cash for those who helped her family after killer disease leukaemia turned their lives upside down.

Richard Cornwell

DARING mum Charlotte Norman abseiled Ipswich's tallest building to raise cash for those who helped her family after killer disease leukaemia turned their lives upside down.

Charlotte and her husband Max were terrified when their tiny daughter Elsie was diagnosed with the blood cancer - with the toddler facing nine months in hospital and gruelling and painful treatment.

Elsie had three months in isolation and Mrs Norman, who was seven months pregnant at the time, and her husband lost their landscape architects business as their lives stopped.

“Immediately she was diagnosed the treatment had to start and she was sent straight away to Addenbrookes, then Bristol - we went with her and for nine months more or less lived in hospitals,” said Mr Norman, 36, of Pinmill.

Mrs Norman - who along with her sister-in-law Karen Johansson yesterday took part in the One Big Drop abseil for Children with Leukaemia at The Mill on the waterfront - said Elsie, now three, had undergone high dose chemotherapy and a donor bone marrow transplant.

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“She says I am brave doing this abseil, but it's nothing compared to the bravery she has shown over the past year,” she said.

“When we were told Elsie had leukaemia it was heartbreaking.

“You cannot imagine what lies ahead for you and your family. You just think, this could be her life now - the only life she might know will be in hospital. You want to make every day count.

“Walking into a children's cancer ward is very frightening, not just for your own child but all those having treatment.”

The couple's second child - Innes, now one - was born as Elsie went into isolation and Mrs Norman, 38, and her two daughters had to live in one room together for three months at Bristol Hospital.

Thankfully, Elsie has now been nine months free of leukaemia though she will face regular check-ups for several years to ensure she is completely cured.

Mrs Norman said the NHS had been wonderful and thanked friends, neighbours and charities such as CLIC Sargent and Sick Children's Trust for their amazing support.

Twenty people took part in the 215ft abseil down 15 storeys - among them abseiling enthusiast Rev David Streeter, 67, rector of Stradbroke.

Are you doing something amazing for charity? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.