A TEENAGER who has repeatedly battled cancer will go on the trip of a lifetime to South Africa.
Sixteen-year-old Maisie Norton, from Grove, was at a fun day at Oxford Downs Cricket Club, in Standlake, on Sunday when Didcot charity Changing Lives surprised her with a £7,000 for the holiday.
It came just days after Maisie heard she had passed 11 GCSEs – a landmark she thought she might never reach.
The money will allow her to fly to South Afirca to visit a safari park with her family. The event had been arranged by colleagues of her father, Steven, who is a manager at book distributors Bookpoint, in Milton, near Didcot.
Maisie said: “It was definitely a surprise. We had no idea they were going to present us with a cheque. I was really shocked and the emotion just overwhelmed me. The generosity of everyone was amazing.”
Maisie was first diagnosed with cancer in 2009 when a tumour was found on her left kidney.
The kidney was removed in a six-hour operation, but she has relapsed three times since then.
In July several tumours were found near her lungs and sternum bone in her chest.
Mr Norton’s work colleagues decided to hold a fundraising day for Maisie and two weeks ago Bookpoint security officer John Beck approached Changing Lives for their help.
John Beck who helped organise the charity day
Another of Mr Norton’s colleagues, Paul Burton, has offered the family the use of a ranch on his father-in-law’s safari park in South Africa.
The £7,000 will be used to pay for flights for Maisie, mum and dad Steven and Rosie and brother and sister Ellie, 18, and Owen, 14.
Mr Norton, 51, said: “I am absolutely speechless. It is fantastic to see people pull together for all the right reasons. It was very emotional. It came out of the blue for us.
“We are hoping to go to South Africa because Maisie is a natural animal lover.”
As well as the £7,000 raised by Changing Lives through their charity shop in Didcot, the fun day is thought to have raised another £3,000, which will also go to the family.
Maisie, a pupil at King Alfred’s Academy, Wantage, was awarded one A, one B, six Cs and 3Ds in her GCSEs.
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