Young cancer survivor Hope Faraday has launched a special appeal to achieve her dancing dream.
After overcoming early health obstacles she won numerous awards for her ballroom dancing she is now facing a new challenge - to fulfil her ambition of becoming a professional ballerina.
The 15-year-old, who lives in Longridge, near Preston, has just launched a GoFundMe online appeal after being awarded a scholarship and place at the prestigious Northern Ballet School in Manchester.
Hope is due to start her three-year course in the autumn. The only obstacle is the cost. She has been awarded a full scholarship but, coming from a single parent family, she knows her mum will struggle financially.
She said: “In spite of the scholarship taking a lot of the financial pressures off, things like accommodation and living expenses aren’t included in the DADA (Dance and Drama award), meaning there still is a lot to pay.
“My mother is a single mother of three, therefore money is tight and is only spent on me and my siblings, as well as my current dancing fees.
“With my family already having to sacrifice so much, I am keen to help assist them into making my dreams come true, which is why I set this GoFundMe page up.”
She is hoping her years of determination and dedication to her vocation will help persuade sponsors to come forward.
Hope, who attends Longridge High School and will take her GCSEs this summer, was diagnosed with a Wilm’s Tumour when she was two and had to have a kidney removed and chemotherapy.
Last year, she was given the all clear after years of regular check-ups.
It was ballroom dancing which Hope first showed a talent for, attending top competitions and achieving success, even representing the north west of England and attending a world championships. But when she discovered ballet she changed direction.
With determination and dedication she has made outstanding progress.
She said: “I only started dancing ballet four years ago, whereas most dancers start when they’re two or three. This has meant I have had to work tremendously hard to catch up, as despite not having the luxury, and head-start of starting earlier, I have been driven and dedicated in hope that one day my dream could come true.”
A studio/gym with special dance floor has been created in her garage and Hope is in the studio at 6am each morning training and attends classes six days a week.
She paid tribute to the support of her family, including her two younger siblings Verity, 14 and Iris, six, and her grandparents and said: “My family have done all they can for me by taking me to my current dance school in Nelson, more or less every day, which is almost an hour from where I live, as well as taking me to my monthly associate class.
“Additionally I also attend a private Pilates session to which they take me too. I have also been lucky enough to attend some summer schools. Last summer I was fortunate to attend Elmhurst Ballet School (school Birmingham Royal Ballet).
“They have also had to sacrifice things like holidays to pay my fees, for which I am more than grateful. Because my mum and my family have done so much for me I want to try and help them in any way I can.”
Her mum Deborah is immensely proud of her daughter’s dedication and talent, especially after overcoming such serious illness. She said: “Now to see how she’s come on and made her dreams come true ... she’s always positive, an absolute delight. I’m very, very proud and very, very lucky.”
Hope and the family have also been grateful for the support of local charity Dan’s Trust for two years while at high school which helped meet some of her ballet costs, For the first 12 months at college she will study musical theatre, jazz and classical ballet and then specialise. Hope added: “I have worked tirelessly already to try and reach this point, and am very dedicated. I know at The Northern Ballet School I would make the most out of being there.
“Dance is a way I can express myself. I like especially in ballet how you strive for perfection.”
If you can help Hope see: https://www.gofundme.com/hopes-vocational-ballet-training
Any companies interested in sponsoring Hope should contact her mum Deborah, who is a teaching assistant at Barnacre Road Primary School in Longridge, by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope three weeks after cancer treatment
Hope Faraday and her mum Deborah
Hope in ballet practice, above; and training, far right
Hope in her ballroom dancing days
For Hope’s family the diagnosis of childhood cancer was a devastating blow.
She was treated at Pendlebury Hospital, now the Manchester Royal Children’s Hospital, for three months. Fortunately the tumour was a stage one tumour.
Afterwards, the family raised funds for the hospital and a cancer charity. Mum Deborah said:“It was horrendous the moment they told me it was cancer. It’s like your world stops. It’s like everyone else keeps going and you’re stuck in this vacuum. She was gravely ill and underwent intense chemotherapy.
“You would rather it was yourself than watching your children suffer. That day when I heard the word cancer I did think that was it. I thought I would lose her and you can’t comprehend what it’s like until you’ve been there.
“But we got on to a ward and it’s full of lots of children all without hair but all with hope and I realised then I had named her appropriately.”
Looking back she says as Hope was so young, for her the gruelling treatment “was part of life” but believes her early courage has endowed her with determination and a constantly positive outlook.
Months in hospital were followed by regular trips back, with concerns raised every time Hope became at all unwell.
Deborah recalled: “From that moment I thought she would always be behind other children. She finally got the all clear 13 years later - to get that all clear was a massive relief.”
Hope will be living way from home at college. Deborah said: “I know that she’s sensible. She’s got a very wise head on her. Obviously I’m going to miss her incredibly - but at the end of the day she’s only down the road.
“How can I not do anything I can to make her dream come true - she has worked so hard.”
Hope’s grandmother, Mavis Whitaker, who had first noticed that Hope, who had not been obviously ill, had an unusual lump, even wrote a series of poems, which were later printed in a fundraising booklet, which people were invited to make donations for.
Mavis said: “I found myself writing poems mostly about how I felt at the time...If you find yourself in a similar position maybe you will relate to some of the feelings described.”
At the back of the booklet she also placed a message: “Remember Love, Faith and Hope. This is what helped us to deal with our situation... Love - the love of family and friends. Faith - whether your own or the faith of friends who include you in their prayers...Hope. Our granddaughter is appropriately named.”