Dream comes true for brave ‘Princess Brooke’

Brooke McClafferty with her family, from left, Seamus, Jade, Elaine and Cianan. (1511PG02)
Brooke McClafferty with her family, from left, Seamus, Jade, Elaine and Cianan. (1511PG02)

Every three year-old little girl dreams of being a princess for a day and Creggan tot Brooke McClafferty is no different.

Fascinated with all things pink - the frillier, the better - Brooke dreamed of a day as a princess, in a real life castle, with a real life horse drawn carriage to ferry her around. And thanks to the Make A Wish Foundation, Brooke, who has battled cancer since the age of just six weeks old, had her dreams come true on Friday.

Brooke, along with her mum Elaine, dad Seamus, sister Jade and brother Cianan travelled by limousine to Belfast Castle where she was treated like a princess for a day complete with special surprises and a carriage ride around the grounds of the Belfast landmark.

According to her dad, Seamus, Friday was to be a very special treat for Brooke who he said “is a real wee character, who just gets on with things”.

Brooke was first diagnosed with the rare childhood cancer Retinoblastoma when she was just weeks old. Her parents had read a story in a national newspaper about a child with the disease and noticed that Brooke displayed the same defect in her eye.

She soon diagnosed and since the age of six weeks old has faced numerous trips to Dublin for treatment, several bouts of chemo and lazer therapy.

Just earlier this year the McClafferty family were devastated to learn a large tumour had grown behind Brooke’s eye and she would require surgery to remove the affected eye, followed by an intensive course of chemotherapy.

But Seamus said daughter, who turned three in July, was not at all fazed by what she had to go through, despite the fact the chemotherapy made a very sick child indeed.

“She just takes everything in her stride. She gets on with things - she’s like any other typical wee girl.”

So when the Make A Wish Foundation asked Brooke what dream she would like to come true, she knew straight away she wanted to be a princess for a day.

The charity - which grants wishes to children living with serious illnesses - agreed to make her princess for a day dream come true. A princess dress arrived at her home in Ballymore Park, complete with a magic wand, crown and sparkling slippers - and the entire family were invited to be a part of her big day.

“She has been so excited about today - this really is a huge deal for her,” Seamus said.