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Christmas wish comes true for Woodmancote girl with leukaemia as she meets One Direction

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: December 24, 2013

By Michael Yong

  • STAR POWER: Sophie Williams, 11, from Woodmancote, who has leukaemia got her wish to meet One Direction

  • Sophie with X Factor finalists Luke Friend and Sam Bailey

  • Sophie Williams, from Woodmancote, with X Factor finalist Submitted pic 23-12-13

  • CHARITY WORK: Sophie and Lesley Williams selling her own designed cards and singing carols in Beechwood Shopping Centre

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FOR brave little Sophie Williams, there was only going to be one direction after she was diagnosed with leukaemia – to fight bravely and help other sick children.

The Cleeve School pupil was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in October last year.

Despite the illness, the inspirational youngster has been selling Christmas cards she designed herself and holding carol sessions around Cheltenham to raise more than £1,700 for charity Clic Sargent.

And two weeks ago, Sophie had the early Christmas present she always wanted when she met One Direction at an exclusive performance before the X Factor final.

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Organised by charity Rays of Sunshine, she was part of a group of 36 children who got to watch a special gig by the five superstars. Together with her mother Lesley, Sophie travelled to Cineworld in Wembley, where she was surprised by an acoustic performance from the boy band and got to chat with her idols.

She said her favourite members of the band are Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson.

"I first loved the band when they appeared on X Factor," she said.

"They were fantastic, and I like The Best Song Ever.

"It was also great meet the X Factor finalists, they were all really friendly and it was an amazing experience.

"Clic Sargent was there for us and really good to us during this period.

"They have helped us a lot and we wanted to do something to give something back.

"I'm looking forward to Christmas, with the presents and spending time at home with my family."

Sophie, from Woodmancote, also got to meet X Factor finalists Nicholas McDonald and Luke Friend and winner Sam Bailey as the three singers were staying in the same hotel as her and her mum.

Since that magical weekend in London, Sophie has continued on her Christmas campaign with determination to raise as much money as possible for the charity so it can continue to help other ill children. She has sung at Beechwood Shopping Centre in Cheltenham and sold more than 100 packs of cards.

But, of course, things are far from a fairytale for the 11-year-old.

Despite finishing her intensive treatment in July this year, she has to go for regular check-ups several times a month.

On top of that, she undergoes a lumbar puncture every three months as part of her treatment.

It is a painful experience where a hollow needle is inserted between the bones of the lower back and into the fluid around the lower part of the spinal cord.

Her mum Lesley said: "Each day is a gift. We are going to carry on celebrating Christmas as normal.

"We have to take each day as it comes.

"You really don't know from one day to the next how well she is going to be.

"She constantly thinks about other people and what she can do to help them."

The talented youngster is a member of the Everyman Youth Theatre, and also plays the piano and guitar.

Her Christmas cards were printed at Ink Spot in Bishop's Cleeve and more than 100 packs sold out within 48 hours of going on sale.

"She loves to help people and that is what she thought about when she decided to start her Christmas campaign," her mum said.

To help Sophie go to justgiving.com/sophieschristmascampaign.

OPINION, P10

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