A Sutton girl who spent 18 months in Epsom Hospital to treat her leukaemia is helping current and future cancer patients keep entertained during their stay.

Rhea Oke, 10, was diagnosed with T-Cell acute Lymphoblastic leukaemia, which affects the lymphocytes (the white blood cells mostly used to fight viral infections) four years ago.

During her extensive treatment, Rhea spent the equivalent of 18 months as an inpatient on Casey Ward at Epsom Hospital.

Because of the risk of infection, children undergoing chemotherapy cannot use the toys, pens and pencils that other children use, and their entertainment has to be new and unopened.

To keep paediatric oncology patients entertained, staff on the ward provide special boxes for each child full of toys and activities that they like.

Now Rhea and her mum Carley have given back to the hospital with a generous donation of toys and activity packs.

Carley said: “After having spent so much time on the ward, Rhea knows only too well how it feels to be bored when in isolation.

"The team on Casey always tried their hardest to keep her entertained and the boxes were a life saver when we were admitted.

“The play specialist did their best to keep the boxes topped up so that each time we came in for treatment, whether it was for half a day or weeks at a time, we weren’t bored being in our room.

“Rhea loves to help people, especially other children who are going through what she has been through, as she can connect with how they feel. It was her idea to donate art and craft kits, board games, books and puzzles to put into the oncology boxes.”

Noreen Hughes, lead clinical nurse specialist in the paediatric oncology shared care unit at Epsom Hospital thanked Rhea and her family for all the donations.

“We are so pleased to see how well Rhea is doing," she said.

"The strength and maturity she showed throughout her treatment kept everyone around her so strong, there was always a massive smile on her face to brighten up the room.”