Write stuff by Bearsden lawyer in memory of Maisie

A young lawyer turned author and illustrator has penned a children’s book to raise funds in memory of her close friend’s baby daughter.

Thursday, 14th January 2021, 10:15 am
Updated Thursday, 14th January 2021, 11:06 am

Little Maisie Nuria Arroyo sadly died in September from a rare form of childhood cancer. She had just turned one-years-old.

Bearsden woman Jennifer Lucas has already raised more than £5,000 from the sale of her book for Scottish children’s charity “LoveOliver” which supported 
Maisie and her family.

Children’s tale Chicken Legs’ Arroyo, it has been described as a story for all the family of bravery, perseverance and the power of friendship during challenging times.

Jennifer told the Herald: “Maisie was born prematurely in September 2019 and had already overcome some huge challenges before coming home.

“She was affectionately nicknamed ‘Chicken Legs’ as a tiny baby, as her little legs took some time to fill out!”

She added: “Originally, the book was planned as a first birthday present for Maisie from ‘Auntie Jenny’.”

However, devastatingly, in March last year, just as work on the birthday book began, Maisie, then six-months-old, was diagnosed with a malignant rhabdoid tumour,

This rare cancer can affect the brain, spine, kidneys and other parts of the body with symptoms ranging from abdominal swelling to nauseau and fatigue.

Treatment usually includes intensive chemotherapy, surgery and, in some cases, radiotherapy. Sadly, though, the prognosis for most children is very poor.

Maise was cared for at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.

Jennifer said: “She fought bravely against the cruellest of diseases. Sadly, despite the best efforts of her medical team, Maisie passed away in her loving parents’ arms on September 28. She was just one year, one week and one day old.”

During her illness, Maisie and her family were supported by a range of charities including LoveOliver which was set up in 2011 by Andy and Jennifer Gill in memory of their son Oliver, who suffered from the same form of cancer.

Jennifer added: “Due to Maisie’s illness coinciding with lockdown, my friends were also fairly isolated during the whole experience, which was unbearable not only for them but their family and close friends like myself who felt pretty helpless throughout.

“Chicken Legs’ Arroyo was my way of doing something to help and it’s proven to be a real source of strength for my friends.

“They’ve been very involved in the sale and promotion of the book and continue to comment on how much it is helping them to heal.”

Proceeds are being donated directly to LoveOliver, helping to support their work in childhood cancer research as well as providing practical support to families like Maisie’s. Its initial run of 350 books raised £5,000.

Jennifer said: “A second run of the book is just about to be printed and ready for sale. I’m really hoping to sell out yet again and increase our total to around £10,000.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by quite how generous people have been in these tough financial times. It’s been great to see the community rallying behind the book and showing amazing support for the 
charity.”

To buy the book, visit www.chickenlegsarroyo.co.uk