A nine-year-old’s wish to be a ballerina was granted by Starlight Children’s Foundation.
Maisie Smith, from Eastbourne, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2011, and had to undergo 27 months of intense chemotherapy.
Starlight, a charity which grants the wishes of seriously and terminally ill children, offered to make Maisie’s dreams come true.
She decided she wanted to be a ballerina, and said, “I would love to practise ballet and have a really, really, really nice ballet dress. ”
The charity set about making the arrangements, contacting one of London’s top dancewear stores and the Royal Opera House.
Maisie, her mum Sarah and dad Dominic, went to London in early December for a VIP ballet weekend. They stayed at the Park Plaza County Hall hotel and found their room covered in pink balloons.
Next it was straight over to the Freed of London shop in Covent Garden where the family were met by the manager Beth who had a number of outfits for Maisie to try on.
She was given a blue tutu to keep, and then the family and travelled to the Royal Opera House where they were met by David Pickering, a former Royal Ballet soloist dancer.
David gave Maisie a behind-the-scenes tour of The Royal Ballet, and was shown around the costume department. She explored the set of the ballet which she would be seeing later that day – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
The family then watched the performance, and met ‘Alice’ in person. Maisie was presented with a pair of satin pointe shoes signed by members of the cast.
On Sunday, the family was picked up by a pink limo, with disco lights, party music and a glass of lemonade in a champagne glass. They were given a tour of London before visiting the Pineapple Dance Studios where Maisie was taught a simple ballet routine which she performed for her family at the end of her lesson.
Mum Sarah said, “Maisie has had to endure some horrid treatment for such a long time.
“No child should have to go through it and Maisie was only five when she was diagnosed.
“Because she approached it all with such an amazing attitude, my husband and I were able to cope better too. She kept her lovely cheeky smile and just got on with it, she was our inspiration. The whole weekend was spectacular. Maisie won’t stop talking about the weekend and it exceeded all expectations.”