PRINCE Harry had the opportunity to meet a brave Chester schoolgirl who has just won a national award for her battle against leukaemia.
Erin Cross, aged seven, captured the hearts of thousands of people as she endured gruelling treatment both at home and in America.
She was chosen from hundreds of applicants to receive a 2017 WellChild Award at a glitzy bash at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London on Monday, October 16.
Erin won the category of Inspirational Child in the awards, which celebrate the courage of children coping with serious illnesses or complex conditions and honour the dedication of professionals who go the extra mile to help sick children and their families.
The prince is a passionate supporter of the awards which are run by WellChild, the national charity for seriously ill children.
On the night, Erin's mum Sarah posted a number of photos of her smiley daughter with a host of celebrities, including Prince Harry.
She wrote on Facebook: “What an amazing night for Erin so far! She has even enjoyed taking some selfies with the celebs!”
Erin's fans were quick to offer their congratulations with one saying: “How incredibly lucky … is Prince Harry to meet such a brave and beautiful princess as Erin .... enjoy your night sweetheart x.”
Over the past five years Sarah and her husband Ant have been told on more than one occasion that their daughter was unlikely to pull through.
After intensive chemotherapy treatment failed to impact her leukaemia, her family hastily raised more than £150,000 to take her to the USA for experimental Car T Cell therapy.
Miraculously, even after suffering a catastrophic stroke just days before she travelled, Erin was able to undergo this treatment.
Despite her ordeal, she astonished family and medical professionals with her positive outlook and determination to get involved in fundraising for the hospitals that have cared for her.
She wiles away the hours in hospital dreaming up ways to raise money for equipment that will help other children in hospital such as speakers for listening to music or dancing around the ward, as this is something which has really helped Erin keep her chin up while battling with cancer.
Sarah said: “All Erin wants to do is play and have fun, always fighting hard not to feel unwell. It is Erin’s courage that has kept all of us going these part five years.
“We’ve seen joking around hours after coming out of a life-threatening coma and organising a dance-off with the healthcare workers only days after her bone marrow transplant when she was still supposed to be in bed.”
Speaking at the 2016 WellChild Awards, Prince Harry said: “This is now my ninth WellChild Awards and each year at this remarkable event, I am profoundly moved by the people I have met and the stories they have shared with me.
“It is one of those moments in life when you are left in awe at the strength of human character, particularly amongst those so young. Watching these children and young people face challenges with such determination, positivity and good humour, never fails to take my breath away.”
See full story in the Chester Leader