Girl who captured Kate's heart on road to recovery
One of the most endearing images from William and Kate's royal tour of Canada was of the Duchess giving a hug to a little girl stricken with cancer.
Six-year-old Diamond Marshall's wish to meet a real live princess came true.
Now, it appears another of Diamond's wishes is coming true. This week, she had surgery to remove tumours on her lungs as a result of a rare childhood cancer, undifferentiated sarcoma.
"We're calling this a miracle," said her dad, Lyall Marshall. "It's a Christmas miracle for our family. To say you're cancer free at this point and time is fabulous."
Diamond earned worldwide attention on July 7 as she greeted the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Calgary airport. She had been selected to present a bouquet of flowers to Kate, the result of a letter she had written to her while in hospital undergoing treatment for the cancer that was diagnosed in February. The letter made its way to the Children's Wish Foundation, who made the girl's dream happen.
At the airport, Diamond forgot all about protocol and rushed to hug Kate -- who wrapped her arms around the little girl -- before retreating to her stepmother, flowers still in her hand. William and Kate went to the girl, bent down and spoke with her for a few minutes.
"They were just beyond lovely with her. What kind people,” Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi recalled at the time.
Will and Kate have been following Diamond's journey to good health and issued a statement in the wake of the latest news: “This is a wonderful piece of news, especially at this time of year and we will be thinking of Diamond in the coming year.”
Diamond's dad talked about that meeting at the airport as a pivotal moment for his daughter.
“That hug had a lot of meaning," said Lyall. "We’re very thankful for that meet and greet for her and the whole community rallying behind her. From a father’s point of view when you can say the whole world is rooting for you to get better. I mean, that’s a lot.”
Tragically, the little girl's mother, Memory, had died of cancer in 2007. Diamond's battle with cancer continues into the new year with another round of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.
She'll have to spend Christmas Day in hospital, but could be home next week.
"She's asked to be cancer free for Christmas," Lyle told CBC. "It was one of her wishes. She has a Santa list and another list ... and we're happy to say we think that both will come."
“We are happy to see her smile,” Lyall told the Calgary Herald. “She’s got a lot of things hooked up into her tubes all over the place at the moment, so to see that smile come through all that, it’s remarkable.”
In the excitement of the moment, Diamond forgot to give Kate the bouquet of flowers and rushed back to her parents, having gotten the hug she wanted. (CP)