THE parents of a two-year-old girl with leukaemia have spoken of the shock of their daughter's diagnosis.

They have shared their story to raise awareness of how Candelighters - a charity that supports families facing children's cancer - helped them through such a difficult time. 

Shortly before Christmas 2022, Jo and Tom Adams, from Baildon, were given the worst news for a parent when their daughter, Amelie, was diagnosed with cancer.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Amelie Adams, who was diagnosed with leukaemia, at a Candlelighters Christmas partyAmelie Adams, who was diagnosed with leukaemia, at a Candlelighters Christmas party (Image: UGC)

After a couple of trips to the doctors, suspected tonsillitis, and a visit to the local hospital, a nurse arranged for Amelie to have some blood tests.

An hour later, they received a call saying to bring her back for a blood transfusion. This was the first time the word 'leukaemia' was mentioned.

Within three days, Amelie had been diagnosed and had begun a two-year treatment plan.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Amelie Adams of Baildon has been diagnosed with leukaemia.Amelie Adams of Baildon has been diagnosed with leukaemia. (Image: UGC)

Jo said: “We feel like we’ve wiped some of this time from our memories now. It was such a big shock.”

Leukaemia is normally treated with chemotherapy, which can cause several debilitating side effects on a child’s body, including hair loss, weight gain or loss, persistent nausea and vomiting, and a sore mouth and gut, which is often extremely painful.

“In the first few days, we met one of the Candlelighters' family support workers," said Jo.

"She was brilliant and explained all that was available to us through Candlelighters, from emotional to practical and financial support.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Amelie Adams in hospital.Amelie Adams in hospital. (Image: UGC)

Amelie was born during lockdown, and Jo and Tom were looking forward to 2022 being their first normal Christmas for their new family. But when Amelie was diagnosed, that all changed.

Jo does not remember going Christmas shopping that year.

She said: “We didn’t even think about Christmas. We hadn’t put our tree up. It was all a bit of a blur.”

As Amelie was receiving treatment over the Christmas period, Jo and Tom weren't sure whether they would be in hospital on Christmas Day.

This made it impossible for them to plan with their family, and especially difficult for anyone to visit, as Amelie’s immune system was weak and it was important she did not catch anything.

“My mum had a cold a few days before Christmas, and was really worried about seeing her,” said Jo.

“We wanted Amelie to be with her family, but it was so hard.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Amelie, her dad Tom and Olaf at the Candlelighters partyAmelie, her dad Tom and Olaf at the Candlelighters party (Image: UGC)

Soon after her diagnosis, Amelie, Jo, and Tom received an invite to a Christmas party hosted by Candelighters.

The charity aims to make Christmas as magical as possible for children and families coping with childhood cancer, and its annual Christmas party provides a space for families to make wonderful festive memories together.

“As soon as we walked in, we felt special,” Tom said.

“Amelie was just getting back onto her feet after her treatment, she was on steroids, and she hadn’t been her usual, smiley self in weeks. We finally saw her smile again at the Candlelighters' Christmas party.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Amelia at the Candlelighters Christmas partyAmelia at the Candlelighters Christmas party (Image: Candlelighters)

For Jo and Tom, the party had come at the perfect time. It gave them a chance to get into the festive mood and see Amelie have fun for the first time in what felt like forever.

They did not have to worry about planning, or making sure she would not catch anything. Candlelighters, and the other families at the party, understood what they were going through.

“There was so much to see – each time we walked round a corner, there was something new,” said Tom.

“There were so many characters – Stormtroopers, Elsa and Anna… The big hall was jam-packed full of activities and music. Everyone made Amelie, and all the children there, feel so special.”

This year, the Christmas party will take place on Sunday, December 3.

“The party gave us the boost we needed to get us through the next phase of her treatment,” Tom added.

“Seeing Amelie on the dancefloor was amazing, and we started to see the light.”

Candlelighters is asking supporters to fund their mission to bring festive magic to children facing cancer, by donating towards the cost of a party place.

Emily Wragg, CEO of Candlelighters, said: “All year round, we see the devastating impact that childhood cancer can have on a family. Christmas can be an especially difficult time for a family with a child who has cancer, and we want to give these families happy memories that last a lifetime.”

To find out more about Candlelighters’ Christmas Appeal, visit