A COURAGEOUS schoolgirl from Crediton who has survived leukaemia will sound an air horn to start Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in Exeter this Sunday, July 27.

Jasmine Larkman, aged 11, will be the guest of honour at the event at Westpoint Exeter.

She will start the formidable army of nearly 4,000 women on their way round the 5k and 10k routes to raise money for Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work.

Jasmine will be cheering on older sister Beth and her group of friends.

Jasmine was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2010, after mum Rachel noticed bruises on her legs while they were on holiday, and a change in her personality.

Following tests at the Bramble Ward at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital Jasmine was diagnosed, and was treated with chemotherapy at the Royal Hospital for Children in Bristol for over two years.

Mum Rachel said: "Jasmine had many problems on the way, but finished treatment in December, 2012. As soon as she went back to school in January, 2013, she complained of headaches and a stiff neck and was diagnosed with a relapse.

"It was such a bad time. We had been so relieved to have got to the end of treatment, and then we started all over again. It was difficult as we were in Bristol so much, in and out of hospital, and it was a big strain financially, too."

Doctors told the family that Jasmine needed a bone marrow donor and as they were hoping for a sibling match, tests were carried out on Beth and Alex.

"It was a double-edged sword when Beth was a match," Rachel said. "It was brilliant for Jasmine as it was the best outcome to find a family donor, but now both my girls were involved."

The successful operation brought the two sisters even closer together, though, and Jasmine was attending dance classes three months after the transplant. And despite losing over a stone, she returned to weekly ballet, freestyle and tap lessons.

Rachel continued: “We are sharing Jasmine’s story in the hope of spurring on more people to take part in Cancer Research UK's Race for Life in Exeter because of our personal experience of the importance of the charity's work, which in turn relies on everyone who raises money through Race for Life.”