A brave Blackpool teenager is on a mission to make the most of every moment count as she battles the final stages of a rare form of cancer which caused her bones to ‘waste away’.
Quiarnah McLachlan, 15 is fighting Ewing sarcoma, a type of cancer which develops in the bones and spreads to other parts of the body.
The Armfield Academy pupil was diagnosed with the rare disease in 2019, when her thigh bone suddenly snapped in half as she was putting on a pair of jeans.
“Her femur broke. The cancer had just eaten it away. It had left it like a piece of thread,” her mum Thalia Darrod, 43, said.
Quiarnah with mum Talia and stepdad Mike
Quiarnah, who lives on Blackpool Promenade, was sent to Manchester Children’s Hospital where she underwent chemotherapy and had her femur replaced with a titanium bone last year.
She then embarked on a gruelling quest to relearn how to walk just in time to walk her mum down the aisle at her wedding in August – which Thalia described as ‘the best feeling in the world’.
But tragically, just one month later, a scan revealed a ‘huge’ cancerous tumour had developed in the the teenager’s skull – and had spread to her legs and left hip.
Despite having an operation to remove the tumour, Quiarnah and her family were told that her condition had become incurable.
Thalia, a mum of five, said: “She does know what the eventual outcome will be. We don’t know how long we have left. The last time we went to the consultant, she told us now was the time to start doing what she always dreamed of doing.
“She just wants to live her life to the full until then. Her main wish is to keep going to school. Mentally, it helps her.
“She’s the most amazing, bravest person I’ve ever met. I can’t put into words how much she’s been through and she’s still there with a smile on her face, always joking.
“I’ve had my fair share of break-downs. But I have stayed strong for Quiarnah. She’s the one who keeps me going.”
“Before she was born, I wished upon a star for a baby, because I had suffered a stillbirth Two weeks later, I was pregnant with Quiarnah. Now I feel like she’s being taken from me as well.”
Quiarnah’s friends have rallied to help her life the rest of her life to the full, as they are planning a big fund-raiser at the New Albert pub on Lytham Road, Blackpool, later this month.
Money raised will go to Quiarnah to help her tick off her bucket list.
Thalia said: “We’ve been having a lot at things she might want to do – but she’s so easily pleased. At Christmas we went all-out, and when she was asked what she got for Christmas she said ‘too much!’
“I would like to take her to some places she has never been. She’s never been to London, and I think it would be amazing to go up on the London Eye and see a show on the West End. She loves musicals.”
Event organiser Sarah Hallett, whose daughter India is friends with Quiarnah, said: “She hasn’t asked for anything. She’s just taken it full-on, day by day, and I can’t believe how strong she is.
“I would love to raise £2.500, but since it’s just after Christmas and there’s a new wave of Covid-19, whatever we raise will help in some way bring comfort to Quiarnah and her family. Anything we can do to help, we will.
“Quiarnah is my daughter’s best friend and it’s heartbreaking to have to see her go through this. She’s such a beautiful girl and such a character.”
Friends and family rally for Quiarnah
The fund-raiser for Quinarah’s bucket list will take place at the New Albert, Lytham Road, on January 30 from noon until 9pm.
There will be live entertainment, bingo, a tombola, raffles, a sponsored wax, drag queen acts, an auction, and a full buffet with homemade chilli and pies on sale. Glitter body art, hair braiding and face painting will be provided by Sez’s Sparkle and Glitter Tattoos and Inferno Face Paints, and artist Paul Crompton will be doing caricatures.
Entry to the event is free, with small charges for games and attractions.