An Asfordby teenager whose family raised thousands of pounds for the cancer ward which has treated her has been celebrating winning her two-and-a-half-year battle with the disease.
Jessica Edwards (15) and her family were so grateful for the care she received they organised a charity football match last year involving legendary former players of Leicester City FC, in aid of Ward 27 at Leicester Royal Infirmary.
The match is set to go ahead again next month, but this time it will double as a celebration of Jessica’s fantastic news.
Dad Chris was working in Japan when he heard that his daughter had received the all-clear from cancer.
He told the Melton Times: “I broke down, collapsed on the floor and just sobbed and sobbed.
“It was all over, it was bigger than relief, bigger than happiness, bigger than any emotion I have ever felt.”
Jessica, a pupil at John Ferneley College, was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer on Boxing Day in 2015.
Her dad, mum Leanne and siblings, Isabelle (13), Violet (11) and Richey (10) have been to support her during her countless hospital visits and there were times when the prognosis did not look good.
Chris said: “On a few occasions we were close to losing Jessica.
“The biggest threats are infection due to weakened immune system, the chemotherapy really zaps all your immune system and energy levels.
“You need to live a life as close to sterile as possible, and with five other people in the house, all with jobs, schools and friends, it’s a constant battle.”
He added: “As a family, we have laughed and cried together, we’ve been to hell and back but we have come back together and stronger.
“Our support network has been second to none. I would come home from the hosptal with three kids late at night and there would be a meal on the doorstep for us. You name it, whatever help we needed, it was offered, it was there.”
Chris played tribute to the way his daughter had coped with her illness: “Jessica has never once seen herself as the victim.
“She’s never felt sorry for herself and never once felt like cancer was going to beat her.
“At times it’s been hell for her and she’s suffered greatly but she fought it.”
Former Leicester City skipper Steve Walsh has become a close family friend through playing in last year’s charity match and then visiting the hospital with Jessica and her family to deliver the proceeds.
He posted a Tweet after hearing from her father that Jessica had been given the all clear: “I missed my Manchester turn-off junction today whilst you broke the best news to me Chris, to say I’m ecstatic is an understatement.”
The Leicester City FC Legends flagged up the upcoming fundraising match and posted on social media: “After a 2.5-year battle Jessica has finally beaten cancer.
“She did it. So this is now going to be just that extra bit special.
“We would like to wish Jessica all the best in getting back on with her precious life and enjoying a bright future.”
The Jessica Edwards Charity Cup is on Saturday June 9, at Asfordby FC’s Hoby Road ground.
City legends Muzzy Izzett and Julian Joachim are among those set to take part this year against an Asfordby All Stars XI. A full programme of family entertainment will be staged as well.