Emotional moment nine-year-old girl with incurable cancer sashays down the catwalk with Gok Wan


A nine-year-old girl who is terminally ill with a rare form of cancer has revealed she plans to spend the time she has left ticking off her bucket list and campaigning for better food in hospitals.

In an emotional interview on This Morning today, Sophie, who has rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of cancer that affects soft tissue in the body, told hosts Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes that she’s already spent time feeding exotic animals at Chessington and has even met her favourite chef Gordon Ramsay.

A heartwarming moment saw Sophie, who first fell ill last summer during lockdown, walking down the catwalk watched by Gok Wan – with Holly Willoughby also surprising the little girl by joining the interview by video link. 

Her mum, Charlotte, explained that the family have decided not to let Sophie have any more chemotherapy because they now want her to have a better ‘quality of life’. 

She told the show: ‘It’s not easy when we know what the consequences are of stopping treatment. For us quality of life was more important than the time.’  

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Sophie, 9, has rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of cancer that affects soft tissue. On her bucket list, she wanted to walk the runway, something This Morning presenter Gok Wan helped her do on the programme on Thursday

Sophie, 9, has rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of cancer that affects soft tissue. On her bucket list, she wanted to walk the runway, something This Morning presenter Gok Wan helped her do on the programme on Thursday

Sophie pictured with her mum and dad. The youngster was first diagnosed with the incurable cancer last summer during lockdown; her parents say they've decided quality of life in now the most important thing for them

Sophie pictured with her mum and dad. The youngster was first diagnosed with the incurable cancer last summer during lockdown; her parents say they’ve decided quality of life in now the most important thing for them

Holly Willoughby, on holiday from the show, also surprised the little girl by joining the interview by video link - and giving her a Cinderella tiara

Holly Willoughby, on holiday from the show, also surprised the little girl by joining the interview by video link – and giving her a Cinderella tiara

Sophie was first diagnosed after she began bleeding while staying with her grandparents last summer. Embarrassed, the youngster hid the bleeding at first but was taken to A&E by mum Charlotte when Sophie confided in her. 

In an interview with Young Lives vs Cancer earlier this month, she explained: ‘It was only when she got back that I noticed from the washing. 

‘I said to her “what’s been happening?” and she said “I’m bleeding but I don’t know why”.’ 

Doctors discovered a 12 inch tumour in Sophie’s abdomen, 95 per cent of which was removed during a seven-hour operation. 

Because of restrictions due to the pandemic, Sophie and Charlotte spent weeks away from Charlotte’s two daughters, Lucy and Amelia, and Sophie’s dad.  

Charlotte, Sophie's mum, told the show: 'It's not easy when we know what the consequences are of stopping treatment. For us quality of life was more important than the time.'

Charlotte, Sophie’s mum, told the show: ‘It’s not easy when we know what the consequences are of stopping treatment. For us quality of life was more important than the time.’

The family said that they want to try and improve hospital food too, after Sophie's own negative experiences in hopsitals

The family said that they want to try and improve hospital food too, after Sophie’s own negative experiences in hopsitals

Holly Willoughby told the little girl she wanted to meet her and decided to join the chat via live link from her West London home

Holly Willoughby told the little girl she wanted to meet her and decided to join the chat via live link from her West London home

What is rhabdomyosarcoma? 

Rhabdomyosarcoma is a type of soft tissue sarcoma (tumour). 

Fewer than 60 children are diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in the UK each year. Most of them are younger than 10 years old. It is more common in boys than girls. 

Source: NHS

After nine months of treatment, including chemotherapy, Sophie relapsed and doctors have told the family that the cancer is incurable. 

The couple told This Morning: ‘There is no cure, but Sophie being Sophie wants to be positive.’ 

Amelia and Lucy helped their sister to come up with a bucket list, and a meeting with top chef Gordon Ramsay was close to the top. 

Sophie explained that the chef had cooked a hazelnut souffle, saying: ‘I like his cooking and I just like him as a person. He was nice. He swore once.’

Holly Willoughby gave Sophie a tiara she wore when she dressed up as Cinderella on This Morning: ‘When I heard you were on the show, I wanted to be there. I’m sending you a big virtual cuddle.’ 

Charlotte told the show that the family wants to try and improve hospital food too, after Sophie’s own negative experiences. 

She said: ‘Sophie’s put it on her bucket list that she wants to improve hospital food, partly for children. She’s described it as “disgusting”. 

‘It seems to vary throughout the country – and also for parents to be fed.  

The family are also calling for play assistants on children's wards at the weekends too. Charlotte said: 'Children still want to play on the weekends.'

The family are also calling for play assistants on children’s wards at the weekends too. Charlotte said: ‘Children still want to play on the weekends.’

Sophie makes her way down the runway, as fashion star Gok Wan looks on

Sophie makes her way down the runway, as fashion star Gok Wan looks on

Concentration: Sophie watches her step as she sashays along the catwalk

Concentration: Sophie watches her step as she sashays along the catwalk

The youngster smiles as she reaches the end of the This Morning studio's blue carpet

The youngster smiles as she reaches the end of the This Morning studio’s blue carpet

‘She couldn’t understand why I wasn’t fed alongside her and she didn’t want me to leave because she was scared or in pain. 

‘There were times I didn’t eat or had to stock up on things that weren’t perishable.’

The family are also calling for play assistants on children’s wards at the weekends too. Charlotte said: ‘Children still want to play on the weekends.’

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