An eight-year-old dog lover with a rare form of cancer says she wants to show others “dreams can come true” when she competes at Crufts.
Less than a year after Freya Harris got her dog Echo, the pair will appear together at the showpiece event in Birmingham on Friday
Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Freya, from Horncastle, Lincolnshire said: “I’m doing it for cancer warriors.” She said she wanted to prove “you can do anything”.
“That’s why Im doing it, to help people fight and make dreams come true,” she said.
Freya was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumour in 2021, a form of kidney cancer that most commonly affects young children.
Since her diagnosis, Freya has undergone a gruelling course of treatment including having a kidney removed, lung surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Last year her parents decided to get Echo, an Australian Shepherd dog, to encourage her to be outside after lengthy spells in hospital.
Shortly afterwards she decided to take up dog showing and started following a dream to compete at Crufts.
Freya said she “nearly cried” when she realised she had qualified at their first competition together in Boston.
The pair have developed a special bond and Freya describes Echo as her “parrot”, who often reflects her own mood during the ups and downs of cancer treatment.
She said: “If I’m having a really bad day she’ll snuggle up on the sofa behind me and that’s why she’s my parrot.
“When I’m having a really good day she’ll be playing with me, she’ll be up and about, up and playing.”
Freya’s mum, Gemma Harris, said the arrival of Echo had “opened up a whole new world” for her daughter, who she calls “our little warrior.”
She said: “She’s brought Freya so much confidence, she has really helped the family.”
Gemma is expecting an emotional day watching her daughter compete at Birmingham’s NEC.
She said: “I’m going to try not to cry, it’s going to be an incredibly proud moment, I don’t think I’ll be able to explain how I’ll feel until I’ve felt it, but the amount of pride for this kid is unbelievable.”
Gemma said it was a “milestone” for Freya and the family after her difficult battle with cancer.
She said: “She’s had her bad days, she’s had days when we’ve had to prepare for the worst, she’s had days where the chemo side effects are overwhelming and she can’t do anything at all and can’t walk.
“She said if she can do it then other people can do it and it doesn’t matter what battles you’re facing, if you try and put your mind to it then the opportunity might happen.”