A TEENAGER who is spending her last ever Christmas with her terminally-ill mother has received a special treat - as a city charity today begins a £10,000 giveaway after teaming up with The Star.
Shereena Sadique, aged 13, from Ecclesfield, Sheffield, has bravely cared for her poorly mum Sharon Andrews for months, accompanying her to hospital appointments, carrying out household chores and shopping.
Doctors believe Sharon, 43, has only weeks to live after cancer spread to her liver and bones - so mother and daughter are determined to enjoy her final Christmas.
Courageous Shereena, a pupil at Ecclesfield School, has now been presented with £150 worth of shopping vouchers to buy herself a host of goodies and enjoy a meal, thanks to Sheffield charity Help A Child Have A Chance.
The good cause has teamed up with The Star for the 12 Days of Christmas campaign, offering young people across the region the chance of receiving a share of £10,000.
Nominations flooded in following an appeal last month and, over the next two weeks, the recipients of the charity cash are being revealed.
Sharon was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2011, and started to improve with radiotherapy which finished in March this year - but in September she discovered the disease had spread.
“Shereena has been absolutely fantastic,” she said.
“She’s been going to school for three days a week and spending the other two days at home with me because I’ve not got much time left.
“She has been through so much and is remarkably supportive. When I found out she had been nominated for the appeal I just burst into tears.”
She added: “Shereena wants to spend the vouchers on both of us but I want her to use them to spoil herself, she loves shopping. She always puts other people before herself. We are very thankful to the charity for this wonderful gesture at such a difficult time.”
Sharon noticed the first tell-tale sign that her cancer had returned in May, when she noticed she was limping.
“I had finished my radiotherapy for the breast cancer so I went back to Weston Park Hospital to get it checked out,” she said.
At first doctors put her symptoms down to sciatica, but a CT scan revealed the cancer had spread to the bone at the bottom of Sharon’s neck, as well as her liver.
“They gave me four months to live,” Sharon said.
“Words can’t describe how hearing news like that makes you feel. But I know I have to be strong and stay focused for Shereena and all the other cancer sufferers out there.”
Following the diagnosis, Shereena decided to put festive decorations up early at home, to make sure she made the most of her last Christmas with her mum.
The youngster wants to be a doctor when she is older, and has a mentor who takes her out once every two weeks to give her a break.
The donation from Help A Child Have a Chance is in Meadowhall vouchers, and TGI Fridays at Meadowhall have also donated a £50 meal voucher.
Shirley Kilner, the charity’s founder, said: “Help A Child Have A Chance is about supporting young people just like Shereena. She is such a lovely, caring girl who is carrying a lot of responsibility on her young shoulders.
“We hope the money will go some way to taking some of the sadness away from Shereena and Sharon and help to make their last Christmas together the most special it can be.”
* See tomorrow’s Star for another 12 Days of Christmas winner.