Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sister Acts to Help out Siblings of Ill Children

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sister Acts to Help out Siblings of Ill Children

Article excerpt

Byline: Katie Dickinson Reporter

GROWING up with a sister is a special bond for many girls - but Megan and Kyra Armstrong have been through more than most.

Megan, 17, has spent most of her young life battling cancer after being diagnosed with a brain tumour at 14 months old.

Her parents Philip and Sandra, from Prudhoe, were warned she may not survive to see her first day of school, but the brave teenager has beaten the odds to make it to sixth form.

However, the illness has had a devastating impact and left Megan blind, suffering from dementia and with significant learning difficulties. Her brave fight has seen younger sister Kyra, now 13, spend days in hospital wards since birth while Megan receives treatment or undergoes surgery.

After the family spent almost three months in hospital in 2014 as Megan had a major operation, Kyra came up with the idea of giving the siblings of poorly children something to keep them occupied while their brother or sister receives treatment.

The idea of "Sibling Packs" became a reality and, after a mammoth fundraising effort, the family has now handed 72 packs to the Great North Children's Hospital in Newcastle, where Megan has received life-saving treatment since infancy.

"Siblings are the forgotten victims of childhood cancer, so it's nice to do something to keep them occupied and happy," said dad Philip, 48.

"The idea came about because Megan spent about five weeks in Alder Hey Children's Hospital at the end of 2014 having major surgery where they took away about half the tumour.

"She then had to go to the RVI with an infection so Kyra, who was 10 at the time, spent the best part of three months sitting around a hospital, totally bored.

"There were always people coming in with donations and Kyra said 'Everything's always for Megan, wouldn't it be nice if someone would donate something for the brothers and sisters?', so we decided to do something about it."

The packs have been designed for different age groups, with everything from crayons and colouring books for younger children, to jigsaws and Rubik's cubes for older ones. …

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