CHRISTMAS wish lists can often strike fear into a parents’ heart when it comes to sourcing the latest toys and games, but every year Santa usually manages the impossible.

When eight-year-old Penny Armstrong was asked what she wanted ‘more than anything in the world’, her answer was harder for her mother than most.

Penny, who is being treated for a rare form of cancer, said: “I just want to be normal Mam, and not have to go hospital.”

Her mother, Lynsie, 37, from Birtley, near Chester-le-Street, said: “It was dead upsetting, and I thought for an eight-year-old to just want to be able to go to school and be normal is heart-breaking.

“I said: ‘I cannot do that’, but what about Disneyland? I told her all about it and she said it sounded really good.

“She doesn’t like flying, so I said I would take her on a train, first class, and stay in one of the hotels and in one of the princess rooms.”

Penny was diagnosed with a Wilms Tumour in 2014 and had a kidney removed before undergoing gruelling rounds of chemotherapy, which caused her hair to fall out.

She was in remission, but in August, her mother, Lynsie, was given the devastating news her cancer had returned and spread to her liver.

She said: “It’s very rare that children relapse just into the liver with the kind of cancer Penny has got. It has lain dormant and hidden and has not been active.

“For some reason it has managed to move to the liver and managed to grow.

“I was told on the Friday and they said we would have to go home for the weekend. It was awful because we had to go home and I had to act like nothing was wrong in front of Penny and then wake her up really early a few days later to go in for a biopsy.

“She absolutely broke her heart and she said: ‘Will I lose my hair again?’ It was really hard.”

Ms Armstrong, who works at Dobbie’s Garden World in Birtley, took her to see a Wilms Tumour specialist at Great Ormond Street in London.

She has already had five rounds of chemotherapy, and needs surgery, and one more big blast of chemo before she starts radiotherapy treatment.

Mrs Armstrong said: “I think it is harder second time around.

“The first is hard enough but you are shocked. The second time around you know what is coming, and you know how ill she is going to get off the chemotherapy."

Friends, relatives and the local community have rallied around the family, forming Team Penny to support the Portobello Primary School pupil.

When people heard about the plan to take her to Disneyland Paris, Ms Armstrong was inundated with offers of fundraising to send them on their way.

Ms Armstrong has herself raised thousands of pounds to help another little boy, three-year-old Kian Musgrove, who is suffering from neuroblastoma and was being treated alongside Penny at the RVI in Newcastle.

She also held a toy collection for the children’s cancer ward and Penny enjoyed handing out sackfuls of presents to youngsters at the hospital.

Ms Armstrong said: “Penny thinks it is great so many people are supporting her. It is really helping us both.”