Rain and dreary weather on Sunday failed to wipe the smile off an Earby girl’s face as she sounded the klaxon to start a prestigious Burnley race.
Nine-year-old Amelia Norcross, of Aspen Grove, Earby, got the Cancer Research UK “Race for Life” underway in Burnley’s Towneley Park before running the 5km route herself.
The number of women taking part in the race, 1,105 in total, exceeded the organisers expectations and is over 150 more than did the charity challenge in 2012.
It is hoped the charity can raise £55,000 from the Burnley event.
According to Amelia’s family, the fact she was at the start line at all is a minor miracle after fighting lymphoblastic leukaemia which she was diagnosed with in April 2007.
Her grandmother, Mary Waterworth, says the family nearly lost her twice before she battled back and was given the all-clear in September, 2009.
Amelia, who attends Coates Lane Primary School, Barnoldswick, now enjoys taking part in sports including cycling and karate as well as tap dancing and Brownies but grandmother Mary said she was equally thrilled at waving off a sea of pink at the start of the race.
Mary said: “It was a wonderful success. I didn’t expect to see so many people there.
“It was fantastic to see so many smiling faces and a lot of people getting rid of the demons as it were.
“You should have seen Amelia’s face, she was so excited to be a mini-celebrity. She was over the moon on the day.”
However, Mary has not forgotten where Amelia was and the continued fight for improved treatment.
Amelia was selected at random to be part of an intense, pioneering treatment programme which, according to her grandmother, was confirmed in April to have upped a person’s chances of survival from eight to nine out of 10.
When Amelia next goes for a check-up in October, the family also hopes these will become every 12-months rather than the current six.
Mary added: “The fact that my granddaughter is well now doesn’t detract from the number of children I see in the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital when we go for a check-up.
“There is a lot more to be done but it is getting better.
“I am absolutely convinced that if Amelia had not had the treatment she got she would not be alive today.
“I think it proves that the research does work. We are so very grateful.”
Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK’s North West spokesman said: “It was a brilliant day and a really great atmosphere.
“Please get your sponsor money in so we can continue to save lives.”