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Penny and Florence’s story: Ward 6’s TikTok stars

Penny, Florence and their mums.
23 December 2022

There are just two days left of our Christmas countdown, and today we would like to introduce you to two of our TikTok stars – Penny and Florence!

Penny and Florence first became friends at Sheffield Children’s earlier this year whilst receiving bone marrow transplants. Penny has a rare genetic condition and blood disorder, and Florence has acute myeloid leukaemia. They’re both six years old and their favourite things to do are dressing up, dancing and having fun with their nurses and teachers on Ward 6.

Penny and Florence at HalloweenTheir TikTok accounts (which are managed by their parents) have thousands of followers and were set up whilst staying with us. Penny and Florence love being able to share their days, learn new dance routines, and connect with other children and families who have been through similar experiences.

Florence’s mum Stacey said, “Since we’ve started sharing Florence’s story on TikTok her videos have inspired more people to give blood and sign up on the Anthony Nolan donor register which is incredible. It means more children and people will be able to get the life-saving treatment they need. We’ve even had people talking to our friends and family about ‘the amazing girl they’ve seen on Tiktok’ and then they’ve been able to say, that’s our Florence!”

Penny and her mum Jodie call the stem cells Penny received “magic cells”, and that’s not just because it’s Christmas time! Going through this treatment means that Penny’s immune system is very fragile for the time being, but after three years of treatment it’s those magic cells that are helping make Penny more active than she’s ever been before. Creating TikTok videos is one way Penny uses her new energy and it helps her keep in touch with friends too!

Jodie and Stacey, who also share a lovely friendship, told us that they had expected their time with us to be “doom and gloom.” Jodie said, “There have been ups and downs, but the nurses and all the people working here have been out of this world. I thought I’d find being in the hospital for a long time so strange, but it felt stranger to leave – Penny always asks me if we can come for a sleepover with the nurses and she loves coming in for her check-ups. We’re incredibly grateful for all their support, and the love that people all over the world have shared via TikTok.”

Both Penny and Florence hope to become nurses themselves one day, but Penny’s biggest Christmas wish this year was for her friend Florence to enjoy the festive season with her family. We’re very happy to share that Penny’s wish worked its magic! After more than six months in hospital, Florence has been discharged from Sheffield Children’s just in time for Christmas and all the family are looking forward to spending quality time together at home. Like Penny, Florence will return in the new year for occasional check-ups, and TikToks too!

You can see more of Penny and Florence’s videos on their TikTok pages.

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