Police officers surprised a “brave and positive” eight-year-old who raised money for children’s charities while in hospital following a multi-organ transplant.
Members of the Newport Safer Neighbourhood Team, in Shropshire, visited Tilly Rae Rhodes at Lilleshall Primary School on Thursday morning.
Tilly was diagnosed with stage four liver cancer in January 2020 before receiving a transplant.
The force wrote on social media: “Tilly Rae is only the fourth person in the whole world to have undergone such an operation for her conditions, and the only one in the UK.
“But, faced with such adversity, Tilly Rae wasn’t going to sit back – she came out fighting, and determined to help other children who find themselves in similar situations to herself.”
Unable to receive visitors during the pandemic, Tilly began selling branded merchandise, with profits going directly to children’s charities and providing gifts for children in Telford and Birmingham hospitals.
Pc Lee Thomas, PCSOs Krissy Wills and Merrick Liston, along with Sgt Richard Jones, visited her school, presenting her with a personalised sloth cuddly toy embroidered with her name and her special slogan “We Can Do Anything”.
“Tilly Rae’s slogan is ‘We Can Do Anything’ and she has more than shown she really can,” said the policing team.
“Our team were so taken with how brave and positive she still is, despite everything that has happened to her and her family in the last year, that we wanted to give her a little something back.”
Tilly’s mother Jodie Rhodes, from Telford, Shropshire, said the visit was “a real confidence boost for her”.
She told the PA news agency: “She’s obviously struggled a lot for confidence with everything she’s been through, and it was nice for her to have a bit of attention that wasn’t medical-related.
“She’s just amazing. She has her down days, don’t get me wrong… but kids just seem to manage, don’t they?
“She’s had to deal with a lot of lifelong changes. You’re so lucky to get a transplant, but then it’s another change to your lifestyle – you have to learn to adapt.
“The police coming out to see Tilly at school, it’s like: ‘They’re coming to see me!'”
To find out more about Tilly’s merchandise, visit shopwithtilly.com.