Esther's Smiles

A named fund set up in memory of Esther Rosa Edwards - One of a kind

This is Esther's story as written by her mother, Lara.

"Esther Rosa Edwards was born in Worcester on the 29th February 2012.

She was a happy and healthy baby with a lovely temperament and soon grew into a confident toddler with an outgoing personality. Esther had a very caring nature and loved helping out at nursery looking after the little babies.​

In December 2014 Esther developed a firm, painless swelling on her forearm and soon after she was diagnosed with high risk alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of childhood cancer. Sadly her diagnosis was very grim, with less than 20% survival rate. She had no other symptoms and apart for her lump she was completely fine, which made her poor prognosis hard to believe.

On the 2nd January 2015, when she was just under 3 years old, Esther started treatment at Birmingham Children's Hospital. She underwent 9 cycles of intensive chemotherapy followed by 7 weeks of radical radiotherapy to her arm. The cancer responded well to the drugs and Esther seemed to sail through the treatment without many side effects. In between the hospital stays, that she hated, she was able to keep doing all the things she loved and she never lost her beautiful smile.

Esther was incredibly brave and always kept a positive attitude, making everything look fairly easy.

In February 2016 Esther started to complain of headaches, being sick and generally poorly and then devastatingly at the beginning of March 2016, a MRI scan showed extensive disease in her head, and she was pronounced terminal.

Esther's family decided to spend whatever time was left with her to make precious memories, far from hospitals. The disease was even more aggressive now and her health declined very rapidly. Her medications mainly kept her pain at bay, and Esther spent the last three months of her short life on palliative care in her beloved home: colouring, reading her favourite books, going for walks in her pushchair, eating ice creams and ice lollies. She even went on holiday with her family to the seaside and to the woods.

Esther died peacefully at home, surrounded by her family on the 7th June 2016, aged 4 years old.

Esther left behind her little sister, Alice, who was only 15 months old at the time, and her mummy and daddy, who miss her every day more than words can say."

Childhood cancer is the number one cause of non-accidental death of children in the UK. Every year 4,000 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer. As a whole, survival rates of children are improving. In reality, the majority of improvements in survival have been within a few of the most common cancer types, in particular, leukaemia.In the UK children receive only approximately 1.3% of cancer research funding, and this small amount of funding is concentrated on the most common forms of childhood cancer, while the most rare forms of cancer, like the type Esther had, are lagging far behind. By supporting Grace Kelly Ladybird Trust, you can help us to change this, in memory of Esther, Grace and of all the children who earned their Angel wings far too soon.

Esther's mother, Lara has written a blog, to tell you the story of her journey with beautiful Angel, Esther, forever 4. Walking with my Angel - A Mother's journey through childhood cancer

Esther's Smiles is a named fund of the Grace Kelly Ladybird Trust, registered charity number 1167783. Funds raised are unrestricted to go to support the work of the Grace Kelly Ladybird Trust in raising awareness of childhood cancer and research into rare solid tumours of childhood.