Young Sprowston cancer survivor joins Race for Life

Schoolgirl Elly Jarrett is hoping her own brave battle against cancer will inspire other girls and women to take part in this year's charity Race for Life.

Ten-year-old Elly, from Sprowston, survived a cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma, which occurs in the muscles, after being diagnosed in January 2008.

She has taken part in the female-only Race for Life event in Norwich for the past two years, while fighting her own battle against cancer, and is now urging other people to follow her example to raise vital funds for Cancer Research UK.

The Sprowston Junior School pupil posed alongside younger sister, Freya, seven, and friend Hannah Pask, 10, with a giant bunch of 75 pink silk flowers to represent the 75 people diagnosed with cancer in the east of England every day and to help encourage others to take part in this year's event at the Norfolk Showground.

Ellie's mum Michelle Jarrett, of Albion Drive, said: 'Elly decided to take part in Race for Life because she lost her nan to cancer and she met so many other youngsters with cancer in hospital. She just wants to help other people.

'Watching Elly cross the finish line at Race for Life was a really emotional moment for us. She really enjoys the event – and couldn't work out what we were all crying for.'

Each time she has been joined by her mum, sister, and a crowd of friends and relatives, and she is planning to run again at this year's event on Saturday, May 14, and Sunday, May 15.

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Mrs Jarrett and Elly's dad Stuart first noticed there was something wrong when Elly began to have trouble eating.

'We thought it was her teeth to begin with, but then her face started to swell up,' said Mrs Jarrett. 'We went back and forth to the dentists and doctors, but it was only when we went privately that we were sent for an ultrasound scan at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.'

The ultrasound revealed a mass and Elly was then referred to Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge, for an MRI scan. It was in late January, just before Elly's eighth birthday, that the family received the devastating news that she had cancer.

Mrs Jarrett said: 'Treatment began immediately. Elly had six months of chemotherapy followed by six weeks of radiotherapy, then further chemotherapy at home. She was in and out of hospital for the best part of a year, but she never stopped smiling and never once complained.

'We have had clear scans since the treatment, but the scans have to be done every four months.'

Mrs Jarrett added: 'Cancer Research UK relies on everyone who raises money through Race for Life to continue its life-saving research into cancer. Elly and all of us are proud to be part of that.'

Race for Life 2011 is the UK's largest women-only fundraising event series, where women join together to walk, jog or run 5k or 10k to raise money to help beat cancer. The Race for Life team are out in force in Chapelfield Shopping Centre today, where women will be given the opportunity to find out more about the run.

As part of the launch, the Race for Life team will also be opening up its very own flower stall in the shopping centre, offering pink flowers.

Women in Norfolk can enter Cancer Research UK's 5k and 10k Race for Life at or by calling 0871 641 1111.

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email