A 12-YEAR-old girl from west Cornwall is being bombarded with messages of love and support as she embarks on an eight-month course of chemotherapy at Bristol Children's Hospital.
Phoebe Tswei, a member of the St Ives-based KidzRUs theatre group who lives in St Hilary with her parents Daniel and Maddie, three sisters and a brother, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia just two weeks ago and has now started her course of treatment in Bristol.
A Facebook page set up for Phoebe by her sister Ellie, 17, has already attracted well over 3,300 'likes' and hundreds of messages of support, not only from friends and the community of west Cornwall but from all over the world – at the last count people from 25 countries had posted messages.
Phoebe's Page is the idea of her eldest sister, Ellie, who says: "Phoebe is always singing, dancing and acting, but sadly this latest stint has sucked the liveliness from her and she isn't the bubbly little 12-year-old she was. I set the page up so that people could post messages, pictures and videos – anything to make Phoebe laugh and feel better."
The result has seen online postings sent from as far afield as Australia, the USA, Kenya and Norway.
Theatrical legend Sir Tim Rice, who thought Phoebe was "brilliant" when he watched the Kidz' production of The Wizard Of Oz this summer, sent a video with a get well message from himself and the cast of From Here To Eternity, currently playing at London's Shaftesbury Theatre.
Ellie said she has been stunned by the impact of the Facebook page.
"I just thought it would be a good way for a few of her friends to send her something to cheer her up.
"I'm overwhelmed and so moved by how many people have taken the trouble to post something. I haven't had the time to reply to everyone yet – we've had some amazing offers from some people!"
Ellie says the chemotherapy is taking its toll on her sister but added: "Phoebe is responding well – she still manages to smile; she's such a lovely girl, throughout everything I'm so glad to see her still smiling."
In addition friends in Penwith are now organising fundraising events. Lisa Barnett, from KidzRUs is having her head shaved at the Castle Inn, St Ives, on December 6, while Samantha Walsh is organising a social evening, provisionally booked for November 30 at the Lugger Hotel, Penzance, with music from Dom Woolcott and others.
Money raised will help provide some creature comforts for the whole family as they spend Christmas together at the Bristol Children's Hospital. In the new year, the continuing programme of events will help pay for petrol for the twice-weekly journey the family makes up to Bristol. Any surplus proceeds will go to the CLIC house in Bristol.
To send your message to Phoebe, go to the Facebook page Phoebe's Page.