THE FACE of Esme Clayson is inspiring the nation.
The Bidford youngster was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia back in the summer of 2011 aged just three. Esme had a bone marrow transplant operation just a few months later, but needed a stem cell transplant the following year – both arranged by cancer charity Antony Nolan and carried out at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
During a heart-wrenching time, mum and dad Naomi and Grant, and older brother Jack, feared at one time Esme would not pull through.
But the now bubbly seven year-old is recovering well and has returned to school at Welford Primary,
And she is now also the face of a drive to highlight the vital difference charities make to people’s lives up and down the country after a photo of her taken by her mum won a competition organised by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).
Naomi explained: “During Esme’s journey I took many photos, some painful but many happy. One in particular for us tells Esme’s story. I shared this photo with Anthony Nolan as for me this photo would never have been captured if it wasn’t for them.
“Earlier this year Anthony Nolan called me to tell me about a competition looking for a photo that tells a thousand words so we entered Esme’s photo and were absolutely thrilled to hear her photo had won.
“It takes my breath away. Her eyes tell you so much – not just what she’s been through, but how she’s succeeding in her fight against leukaemia. This is Esme’s thousand words.”
The family is now looking to the future with renewed optimism.
Naomi said: “Esme has been through an incredible journey, one with many ups and downs, but her sheer determination and strength got us through to the other side. Esme was given a chance to live because of Anthony Nolan – without them I wouldn’t want to imagine where we would be today.”
“It is incredible to think of where we were almost four years ago and where we are now. When you look as Esme now you would never know what she has been through. She is an adorable little girl, giggly and fun but very cheeky with it.
“We know we still have challenges to take on but for now we will continue to enjoy family life and live it to the full.”
Esme is getting stronger by the day and is now starting to enjoy the simple things in life children of her age take for granted – like playing in the park.
But Esme did also have an experience of a lifetime after being granted a wish by the Make A Wish Foundation which saw her swim with dolphins in Florida.