Amy Dowden breaks down in tears over 8-year-old girl's cancer story amid own battle with illness

Amy Dowden breaks down in tears over 8-year-old girl's cancer story amid own battle with illness

WATCH NOW: Amy Dowden in tears at Pride of Britain winner's story

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 13/10/2023

- 11:27

Updated: 13/10/2023

- 11:47

The Strictly star was in attendance at this year's Pride of Britain awards

Strictly Come Dancing pro Amy Dowden was seen wiping away tears in the crowd at this year's Pride of Britain awards after hearing eight-year-old Freya Harris' story.

Harris had been diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer back in 2021 which left her bedbound for months and resulted in complicated live-saving surgery.

The schoolgirl had to have a kidney removed after being diagnosed with Wilms' Tumour, a form of cancer that only affects approximately 80 children a year in the UK.

Her mum Gemma explained during the video shown at the awards that she and her family were preparing for the worst as Harris was unable to walk or leave her bed for months following and during her treatment.

But the youngster's resilience shone through as she began to recover, aided by the fact the family had purchased an Australian Shepherd dog, Echo.

Echo, who Harris described as her "best friend", not only proved to be a pivotal pillar of support for Harris, but it sparked her to go above and beyond with the pooch by entering into Crufts.

Pride of Britain Freya

Pride of Britain award winner Freya


Despite requiring an urgent blood transfusion in the days before the Crufts qualifiers, Harris and Echo defied expectations and performed for the judges at the canine contest.

The pair bagged second place at the competition and rightly garnered plaudits from those in attendance as well as recognition from the Pride of Britain panel.

During a recorded message at the awards, Harris reaffirmed just how much Echo meant to her: "She was my aim if I was at hospital, I had to get home to see her."

After the crowd at the awards do heard Harris' story, Dowden, 33 - who was diagnosed with breast cancer in May - joined several others as they shed a tear at the eight-year-old's bravery.

Dowden has been vocal about the hardships of her own cancer journey, sharing updates from the treatment room as she undergoes chemotherapy while also posting a tearful video from when she decided to shave her hair off.

And she put on a resilient front of her own at the awards as she ditched the wig she sometimes opts for to join a number of her Strictly stars to pay tribute to the nation's unsung heroes - Harris included.

Dowden took to Instagram following the awards ceremony to once again pay tribute to the long list of heroes honoured at the do.

"Sunday evening I had the honour of attending @prideofbritain , where we get to celebrate extraordinary people who go above and beyond to help others," she began alongside a series of snaps from the event.

Amy Dowden

Amy Dowden wore a stunning pink dress to the awards


She continued: "It was a privilege to stand along side my Strictly Come Dancing family and present a award to John Burkhill a remarkable man who has raised such a huge sum of money for @macmillancancer - a charity which has played a significant part in my own journey recently.

"It was a humbling experience and one that I was truly grateful to be a part of and to be able to show my gratitude."

Dowden joined the likes of Angela Rippon and the rest of the class of Strictly 2023 on stage at one point during the awards to recognise the achievement of Sheffield-based fundraiser John Burkhill.

The award-winner is a well-known figure in his home city for raising over a million pounds for Macmillian Cancer Support following the death of his wife and daughter to cancer.

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