Leukaemia won’t stop my dreams, says Amy

Gemma and Amy Uprichard. INLM26-127gc
Gemma and Amy Uprichard. INLM26-127gc

Ballet is her passion and despite being diagnosed with Leukaemia Amy Uprichard (16) hasn’t stopped dancing.

The determined Lurgan school girl has been dancing almost every day despite undergoing gruelling Chemotherapy at Belfast City Hospital.

Amy was diagnosed on May 19 and was quickly brought to hospital for treatment.

And during it all she went to the hospital gym to practise and dance plus she sat five of her GCSEs, missing two exams.

“I have coped fine with the treatment. I just get a bit tired. I tried to go to the gym every day or if not every other day depending on how I felt,” she told the Mail.

Amy was determined to leave hospital to support her little sister Gemma who took part in Craigavon Festival at the weekend.

Much to the family’s delight, little Gemma, who is a pupil at Bleary Primary School, scooped two prestigious cups, The Riddell Cup for Ballet and the Sharon Moore Cup for the highest mark in the festival for a ballet solo - no mean achievement for a 10 year-old among dancers aged up to 18.

“I was really proud of her,” said Amy. “I only got home on Friday. I really wanted to go home and see Gemma dance. She did really well. She said she was doing it for me. I was so happy.”

Proud mum Sarah said: “I was over the moon. She did absolutely fantastic.”

Sarah told of her shock when they took Amy to casualty last month and discovered she had leukaemia. “But she has come through it well,” she said. “She said she wanted to do her exams as she didn’t want to be held back a year. She is very strong and very positive and that’s what’s pulling her through. I think she’s pulling us all through to be honest.”

Amy is no stranger to awards herself and danced her way to the top of a TV dance show Pump Up My Dance on RTE last year beating hundreds of hopefuls to the finals.

Though Amy has only been dancing for around four years, she has her heart set on ballet school and had been accepted into the West Ballet School in Taymuilt in Scotland. She was to enrol in September however her recent diagnosis has meant those plans are on hold.

Amy and her sister Gemma are with the Jeanne Cree School of Ballet in Lurgan. “I just love to dance and I want to be a professional ballerina, “ she said.

Mum Sarah and dad Stephen are very proud of their daughters, Amy, Hannah and Gemma.

Amy has coped well with her treatment. “They told me it was really sickening but I coped with it fine. I had no sickness, just got a bit more tired. I was happy enough.

She plans to do her A levels and continue with her dancing. She is hoping to learn some more styles of dancing, go to London and dance professionally.

“I’m still going to go on with what I plan to do. This is not going to stop anything. It’s not going to stop my dreams,” she said.

Amy has paid tribute to her school, Banbridge Academy and all her teachers for supporting her through her recent ordeal. “The teachers have been amazing.” She also thanked the staff at Belfast City Hospital for their help. And she paid a special tribute to four Linfield players who bought her an iPad.