SANTA has given the Christmas present of a lifetime to a brave Halifax tot who battled a rare eye cancer.
Bubbly little Thomas Hale, from Savile Park, has just returned from a festive trip to Lapland, organised by charity When You Wish Upon a Star.
The trip was an extra Christmas celebration for the three-year-old’s family, who are also marking his cancer being in remission. Thomas was diagnosed retinoblastoma when he was seven months old - a cancer found in only 50 children in Britain each year.
Most cases are not picked up until the child is two or three, when it can be too late to save their eyes.
But the four tumours behind Thomas’s eyes were spotted when they showed up as glares on pictures taken on Elizabeth’s mobile phone.
After Thomas’s diagnosis, Elizabeth and her husband Neil, who teaches at Crossley Heath School in Halifax, along with their seven-year-old daughter Beth were also tested for the condition. All the checks came back clear.
Thomas underwent intensive treatment and will now continue to visit hospital for regular checks but has been classed as in remission.
While he has been left partially sighted, his family hope they have caught the cancer early enough to let him lead a normal life.
He loves attending All Saints Pre-School and is looking forward to starting primary school next September.
When You Wish Upon a Star arranges visits for children who suffer from life threatening and life limiting illness ever year, chartering four plans for up to 400 kids.
Thomas was nominated for trip by staff at Leeds General Infirmary, and enjoyed every minute of it.
“He loved it,” said Elizabeth. “He was so excited. He just wanted to play in the snow.”
The group were treated to a day packed with seasonal activities, from carol singing with a group of celebrities, a visit to the Arctic Circle and a chat with Father Christmas.
“It was a really excellent day, just magical,” said Elizabeth, a sales analyst for a Bradford firm,
“Some of the children were really poorly and to see their faces light up was unbelievable.”
For more information about When You Wish Upon a Star call 0115 9791720 or visit www.whenyouwishuponastar.org.uk.