Erin’s home for Christmas...it’s the best gift a mum could have

FELIXSTOWE: It’s the best Christmas present I could ever have!

Those are the words of mum Kara Southall as two-year-old daughter Erin, who is being treated for cancer, finally got out of hospital to come home just in time for the festive celebrations.

Little Erin has been through more in her short life than most adults, undergoing a gruelling chemotherapy regime and a major operation to remove a tumour lodged between her lung and rib cage since she was diagnosed in June.

But her outlook for next year is promising and with her family reunited at last, this promises to be a Christmas to remember for the whole family.

“It was like a bad nightmare,” said Kara, 27. “You never ever think something like that is going to happen to your own children, and you can’t help wondering why is it happening to my little girl?

“It was when she lost her hair that it really upset me. She had so much brown curly hair and I was always putting it up for her, so when they said she would lose it I was devastated.

“I know it’s not the most important thing, but it just meant everyone could see she was ill and they used to stop and stare which was awful for her.”

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Dad Darren, 32, was forced to give up his job as an assistant manager at the British Heart Foundation shop in Hamilton Road as Erin’s frequent visits to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge became too much for Kara, who has two other sons.

He said: “It’s hard to get your head around – one day we were outside having a barbecue and a laugh with all our family round and the next day we were in hospital being told our daughter had cancer.

“It turns your life upside down just like that.”

Things became even worse when Erin developed an infection after the operation to remove her tumour on December 13, which meant she might not make it home for Christmas with her brothers, grandmother and aunts and uncles at the family home in The Walk, Walton.

Kara said: “When they were saying she might not make it home for Christmas, I was in tears. I was thinking I’m going to cancel Christmas this year, but of course I can’t because I’ve got two other boys.

“They would’ve been so upset if she hadn’t been here and she has missed them so much.

“But it was amazing when she did come home, seeing my little girl come through the door calling out ‘mummy’. The fact that she’s home for Christmas is just fantastic.

“It’s the best Christmas present I could ever have.”

n Do you have a heartwarming tale to tell? Call the newsroom on 01473 324788 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

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