Amber's story

At eight months old, Amber Whiston was diagnosed with a brain tumour after her parents noticed her eye was spinning while she was feeding.

Amber Whiston waiting to ring the bell

Eye doctors at Sheffield Children’s Hospital found Amber had poor vision in the eye and sent her for an MRI scan which revealed the mass on her brain. 

"When we heard the diagnosis I just dropped to the floor and everything was just a blur. It felt like I was in a different world and it wasn’t real. Everyone dismissed it at first and couldn’t believe it. Amber had surgery a week after we heard the diagnosis and her first scan found the tumour to be growing. She then started chemotherapy within two weeks.” said Amber's mum, Lara.

CLIC Sargent's support

Amber and her brother Seth with Amber's toy Flingo at the Morrisons and CLIC Sargent Jingle Bells filming

"Our CLIC Sargent Social Worker just appeared in front of me one day in hospital and talked through what CLIC Sargent could do. We’ve had help with financial benefits, and we’ve been able to chat at any time. It's been great to be able to call in at the CLIC Sargent office at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and have a chat and a hug. CLIC Sargent staff are wonderfully caring and knowledgeable people at a time when you need help the most. When your child is ill your priorities change. They help us keep control of the little things when we can’t control the big things, like our daughter's health.”

Years of treatment

Now eight years old, Amber has undergone years of chemotherapy and multiple brain surgeries to control the tumour. In May this year, the family arrived back in the UK after ten weeks in Oklahoma where Amber had proton therapy. But her first scan back at Sheffield Children’s Hospital revealed she had hydrocephalus – a build-up of fluid on the brain caused by a cyst – and she was sent for emergency surgery to drain the fluid.

“During the surgery, me and Amber’s dad Mark sat with our CLIC social worker Louise, who provided great companionship during such a tense time. It's not healthy to just sit and clock watch when she's in theatre so having Louise there really helped the time to pass, rather than agonizing and wondering what's going on in there." 

Regaining her strength

“Our amazing girl, Amber walked out of hospital 24 hours after her operation in another show of amazing strength and determination to not be brought down by any of the setbacks she has faced.”

Since her surgery Amber has regained her strength and in September, she returned to school. In December, Amber was one of 12 children with experience of cancer who starred in ‘Jingle Bells’ – the Morrisons and CLIC Sargent Christmas message based on the End of Treatment Bell.  

Read more stories of children and young people who have been helped by our partnership with Morrisons.