The Olympic Torch past through our town on its Journey to London.
There was a colourful carnival, a fly by of war-time bombers and of course the historic olympic torch itself. We had a great day, I’ve never seen so may people in Skegness, there was thousands in the crowd.
One of the torch-bearer in Skegness was Starr Hailey, a young girl who had survived a brain tumor, carried the torch past us. I had been standing in the crowd for 2hrs waiting for the torch which when it finally arrived much to the relief of my aching legs :-) passed by in two seconds, it was worth it, Taking part in history was a real honour and to see that young girl smiling as she went past priceless, going early and standing for 2hrs to see the Olympic torch paid off, I got right at the front of the crowd :-)
15-year-old Starr, was discovered to of had a brain tumor and had to go through 18 months of intense chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment at the age of 12, the tumor had spread to the front of her brain and after major brain surgery she was left unable to speak or walk.
When asked why she was nominated to be a torch-bearer she said “I was diagnosed with a brain tumour and I had to have 18 months treatment but throughout that and still now, I did a lot of fundraising. I did a lot of fundraising to sort of give something back”, but it doesn’t stop there this young woman has attended many conferences, given presentations, done promotional work for charity, taken part in the Race For Life and makes crafts to sell in a local car boot sale.
After her operation, Starr lost the use of her right side, doctors also discovered the tumour had spread. She went through intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy to shrink it.
Starr said: “It was horrible when I was diagnosed. My mum had got me a Big Mac and the doctor came in and tapped on my knee and said ‘I’m so sorry you have got a brain tumour’ and I just dropped it.
“Each day I was getting weaker and the headaches were getting worse and I wrote my mum and dad a letter saying if I don’t come out the operation that they are brilliant parents and thanked them for everything.
Slowly she began to speak again and with physiotherapy she learn to crawl and then later – to walk. Doctors told her it would be at least six months before she would walk again, within six weeks, she did a 5K run for charity.
In an earlier interview miss Hailey said “I was addicted to cheese and onion crisps and my dad would make me eat them with my right hand, he recorded me so I could see the progress. If he hadn’t done that it would have taken me a lot longer. That tough love made me excel so fast.”
Karina, Starr’s mum expressed how proud she is of her daughter.
She said: “Starr walked into Queen’s Medical Centre on November 1 a normal 12-year-old with a headache and came out 10 weeks later in a wheelchair.
“She had to learn to crawl, walk and speak again. They said it would take about six months before she would walk, she did it in six weeks and not long after did a sponsored 5k for Clic Sargeant. It took us three-and-a-half hours but she either rolled herself in the wheelchair or walked with it with no help. She’s always been a spirited kid.
When Starr was asked what it was like to carry the torch Starr said: “It was epic, just amazing”, “I was so nervous but once you’ve got it in your hand it was like yeah, you’ve just got to do it”, “For it to happen to me… it was just amazing.”
She practise being able to carry the weight of the torch by walking with a bag of sugar in her hand in preparation for the runup of the big day in Skegness.
“I was so honoured to be actually nominated, finding out I was chosen to walk with the torch I was just amazed and couldn’t believe it.
“It was like when I was diagnosed, such a shock but in a good way.
“I’m trying to get used to the weight of the torch. It’s given me an aim and boosted me with so much excitement.”
The nomination for Starr Hailey was by her teacher Kate Walker for her bravery and determination, the school said After being asked to put forward an inspirational child, the vote was unanimous in choosing Starr.
The teenager finished her treatments in March 2011, her first scan was clear. Starr has to have a scan every six months as the tumour has a high risk of returning.
Starr’s message is she really wants everyone to know how important it is to get your eyes tested regularly and life doesn’t have to stop, She’s an inspirational example to never give up in the face of adversary.