A dad has described his "disbelief" after his daughter went to the doctor with an arm injury only to be told she had cancer.
Darcey Chandler, from Canterbury, was diagnosed with leukaemia when she was just four years old – and now wants to help other children like her beat the disease.
Darcey, who is now six, received the shock diagnosis after she went to the doctors to get her arm checked after suffering a nasty fall from her scooter the previous day.
She was told she had a broken arm – but tests also revealed she had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Her dad, Graham Chandler, said it came as a huge shock.
"You just never expect it to be your child who gets cancer. It’s a feeling you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy," he said.
"In those four days, we went from a broken arm to Darcey fighting for her life on chemotherapy. We couldn’t believe what was happening.”
Initially, doctors at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate treated Darcey and confirmed she had a broken arm.
But they asked to do some more investigations, including a blood test.
After her cancer diagnosis, Darcey was transferred to St George’s Hospital in London and after a couple of nights in intensive care, moved to the Royal Marsden Hospital in Surrey.
"This would become our second home for the next year,” Mr Chandler said.
"After two weeks she was allowed home. But the next stage was really tough – seeing your beautiful baby girl change so dramatically was heartbreaking.”
"When we tried to comfort her, her hair fell out in clumps, even into her food. No words can express how difficult and upsetting this was..."
Mr Chandler described how the drugs his daughter had to take changed her appearance and her personality.
“The steroids made her double in size – she couldn’t stop eating," he said. "She’d eat all day and then be awake at 3am wanting pasta or spaghetti."
"And her temper was unbelievable. When we tried to comfort her, her hair fell out in clumps, even into her food.
"No words can express how difficult and upsetting this was."
Over the next month, the family assumed the chemo was doing its job but unfortunately it wasn’t.
"It’s thanks to research that Darcey is here today..."
Mr Chandler said it was a "massive blow" but the family stayed strong as Darcey embarked on having more, stronger chemotherapy.
Sadly, two months later, the tests showed the chemo was still not working properly, leaving the only option of radiotherapy followed by a bone marrow transplant.
Close family were tested for a bone marrow match but none was good enough.
Eventually a donor was found, via the Anthony Nolan charity, in Germany.
The next stage of treatment was a difficult time for the family as each time Darcey went to hospital, only one parent was allowed in and stayed for a week at a time. The other parent would stay at home with Darcey's 10-month-old brother, Harry.
During her treatment, Darcey also wasn't allowed out of the room but thankfully she responded well to it and is now doing well.
To help other children fight cancer, this Childhood Cancer Awareness Month Darcey and her family are asking people in Kent to help TK Maxx’s Give Up Clothes for Good campaign, in support of Cancer Research UK for Children and Young People.
The campaign asks people to donate any pre-loved clothes and homeware they no longer need to their nearest TK Maxx store to help more children and young people like Darcey survive cancer.
When sold in Cancer Research UK shops, each bag of items donated could raise up to £25 to help fund research into children’s and young people’s cancers.
Darcey's mother Kelly Chandler said: "It’s thanks to research that Darcey is here today. That’s why raising money for Cancer Research UK for Children and Young People is vital.
"Darcey and I will be having a good clear out at home to find clothes and things to donate and we hope our experience will inspire others to do the same.
"Their unwanted items really could save lives.”
Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Kent, Lynn Daly, said her and the team are grateful to the Chandler family for their support.
"Cancer in children and young people is different to cancer in adults – from the types of cancer to the impact of treatment and the long-term side effects survivors often experience," she said.
"So, it needs more research which campaigns like Give Up Clothes for Good help to fund."