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Young Calgary Cancer Survivor’s Christmas Wish


A young Calgary girl battling cancer caught the attention of the world after getting a hug from a “princess” during this summer’s royal visit. Now she has the best news possible just in time for Christmas — her cancer is in remission. Six-year-old Diamond Marshall has been battling a rare form of adrenal cancer. She had surgery Monday to remove tumours and biopsies are now showing she is cancer free. It’s all her family could ever hope for this holiday season.

“We’re calling this a miracle,” said her dad, Lyall Marshall. “It’s a Christmas miracle for our family. To say you’re cancer free at this point and time is fabulous.”

In the summer, the young girl made headlines internationally after being chosen to hand flowers to the Duchess of Cambridge — Catherine Middleton, otherwise known as Kate. Diamond wanted to meet a real princess after watching the royal wedding from her hospital bed. She got her wish and met Kate and her husband Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, as they arrived in Calgary for their royal tour. The meeting was organized by the Children’s Wish Foundation with an invitation from Alberta’s Office of the Lieutenant Governor.

Though Kate is technically a duchess, not a princess, the distinction was unimportant to Diamond, who gave the royal a bouquet of flowers and a homemade gift. Before the gifts, Diamond threw her little arms around her real-life princess in a moment of spontaneity. The girl’s father said the hug not only melted his heart, but the hearts of many people around the world.

“I think we can all believe in miracles and dreams and I think that hug really helped in more ways than one. It’s fabulous to have the whole city of Calgary behind you, and there’s nothing better than to say, ‘Hey, the whole world wants you to get better kid,'” Marshall said.

But for this surgery, Diamond also called on Santa.

“She’s asked to be cancer free for Christmas,” her dad said. “It was one of her wishes. She has a Santa list and another list … and we’re happy to say we think that both will come. So she’s looking forward to Santa and I think Santa’s going to be very good to her.”

If all continues to go well she’ll be able to head home next week. While it appears Diamond got her Christmas wish, she still has a long road ahead of her. She’ll be back at Alberta Children’s Hospital in late January to undergo a high dose of chemotherapy and get a stem-cell transplant to try to ensure she’s kicked her cancer.

“We’re just going to hope and pray that this keeps on going as well as it’s been going,” said her father. “She just keeps showing amazing resilience and strength. She’s a fabulous little girl. I’m so proud of her.”

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