Bid for 'best Christmas ever' for terminally ill little girl

The parents of terminally ill Anastasia Hazell, six, tried to ensure Christmas came early by throwing a festive celebration.

The parents of terminally ill Anastasia Hazell, six, tried to ensure Christmas came early by throwing an early festive celebration last month. - Credit: Supplied by Hazell family

The parents of a six-year-old girl who has a terminal brain tumour have made sure Christmas came early - by turning their home into a winter wonderland.

Anastasia Hazell had been a seemingly healthy young girl until March this year when a tumour was discovered in her brain.

Her parents, Alexandra and James Hazell, were told Anastasia had Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Giloma (DIPG) - a high-grade tumour affecting children with no cure, from which most youngsters die within 18 months.

The couple were left devastated but have spent the last few months converting their Rollesby home into a "palliative paradise" where the little girl can be more easily looked after.

But with the festive season almost upon us, and with so much uncertainty about what the future holds, Alexandra and James made sure that Christmas came early for their daughter.

The parents of terminally ill Anastasia Hazell, six, tried to ensure Christmas came early by throwing a festive celebration.

The parents of terminally ill Anastasia Hazell, six, tried to ensure Christmas came early by throwing an early festive celebration last month. - Credit: supplied by Hazell family

The couple turned their house into a "winter wonderland" at the end of last month which saw their home transformed into a grotto with "tons of Christmas lights" and a big party.

The home of Anastasia Hazell at Rollesby which was transformed into a winter wonderland for an early festive celebration.

The home of Anastasia Hazell at Rollesby which was transformed into a winter wonderland for an early festive celebration. - Credit: Supplied by Hazell family

Alexandra said: "We're hoping she will be with us until Christmas so we want to make it the best Christmas ever.

"The theme was a 1980s Christmas party so the hair was big and the vol-au-vents were even bigger! 

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"On the day of the party she spoke for the first time in weeks, if not months.

"We were absolutely blessed in the fact that we had so many people volunteer to entertain my daughter and her friends."

The parents of terminally ill Anastasia Hazell, six, tried to ensure Christmas came early by throwing a festive celebration.

The parents of terminally ill Anastasia Hazell, six, tried to ensure Christmas came early by throwing an early festive celebration last month. - Credit: Supplied by Hazell family

As well as Father Christmas, the festive event featured other acts including Chase the dog from Paw Patrol and even Electric Blue, a drag queen from Sheffield.

The parents of terminally ill Anastasia Hazell, six, tried to ensure Christmas came early by throwing a festive celebration.

The parents of terminally ill Anastasia Hazell, six, tried to ensure Christmas came early by throwing an early festive celebration last month. - Credit: Supplied by Hazell family

The 35-year-old who lives with her husband, also 35, and two-year-old son Ryker had been frantically looking for help for their daughter, a Ludham Primary School pupil, although there is currently no life-saving treatment in this country.

But they, together with the support of their friends, have been busy fundraising to help convert their "dream home", which they dubbed Hope House, into a haven for their daughter whose mobility had worsened and where she can receive palliative care.

Alexandra Hazell, left, and husband James with their daughter Anastasia after she was born.

Alexandra Hazell, left, and husband James with their daughter Anastasia after she was born. - Credit: submitted by Hazell family

Alexandra said: "We went from worrying about things like which movers we were going to use, and how we were going to decorate our master bedroom, to thinking about the end of life for our baby girl and how we would wash her body as her brain deteriorated around her."

Alexandra Hazell, left, with daughter Anastasia, in the middle, husband James Hazell and their son Ryker (front right).

Alexandra Hazell, left, with daughter Anastasia, in the middle, husband James Hazell and their son Ryker (front right). - Credit: Supplied by Hazell family

She said they contemplated whether they should even move or not but have done so with the intention of converting it so they could ensure their daughter could "die at home rather than be forced into a hospice situation".

The support of the community, including the school, other mums and friends, has been "incredible" with Alexandra describing them as "superheroes".

Some of the parents and children from Anastasia's Angels.

Some of the parents and children from Anastasia's Angels, a group raising money for six-year-old Anastasia Hazell who has a terminal brain tumour. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden, Archant Norfolk 2021

The community have helped them renovate their home but the family have been frustrated in their bid to get a disability facilities grant (DFG) to help pay for some of the work.

But hopes of financial support were crushed when the family were told they - and the recipient of the grant - had to be in a house for five years before funding could be accessed.

It was yet another devastating blow for the family.

However their bid to transform their home was helped after Alan Boswell Group learned of the family's plight through an employee.

The insurance company, based at Prospect House in Norwich, had been looking for a local charity to support and donated £10,000 to enable the family to get a lift fitted upstairs.

Alexandra, Anastasia, Ryker and James Hazell

Alexandra, Anastasia, Ryker and James Hazell who started Anastasia's Angels, a group raising money for treatment overseas for Anastasia's terminal brain tumour. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden, Archant Norfolk 2021

Alexandra said: "Seeing that lift stand in our home was incredible.

"She didn't want Disneyland or to meet a hero, all she wanted was to stay at home and be with her mummy.

"The only thing I could do for my little girl was build her a paradise, a perfect place to be.

"We're getting there slowly but surely, with the lovely community around us and we are making it happen one day at a time."

Log onto https://gofund.me/5e18bc00 for more information about how to help fundraise for Anastasia or go to 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/938434383752199/?ref=share to find out more.