The first swim of summer, Christmas shopping in the mall, and a tasty feast on the 25th are things many 10-year-olds look forward to when school breaks up.

For Omanu girl Avamarie Thomson, putting toes into the water and mall crawling take on extra significance this December - it will be the first time she is able to do these simple things since she was diagnosed with a potentially deadly stage-four kidney cancer a year ago, which had spread to her lungs.

Fighting for her life during a year of surgeries and intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Avamarie is on the road to recovery and has returned to school part-time.

After she got the chemotherapy portacath removed from her underarm after a year, Bayfair gave Avamarie a $500 voucher to celebrate.

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Avamarie Thompson and mum Desiree Christmas shopping in Bayfair with a $500 voucher from the mall. PHOTO/John Borren
Avamarie Thompson and mum Desiree Christmas shopping in Bayfair with a $500 voucher from the mall. PHOTO/John Borren

"We were all moved when we read in the Bay of Plenty Times about Avie's battle. Not just being ill but she couldn't do the things we all take for granted and, of course, we loved to hear her favourite pastime was mall shopping," said Bayfair Centre manager Steve Ellingford.

Avamarie went straight to JB Hi-Fi with mum Desiree George to buy an iPad mini - when she was ill her screen time was the only thing to keep her occupied.

Then she would have her favourite lunch of butter chicken in the foodcourt, something impossible all year when she could only eat via a tube.

"It is my favourite, butter chicken."

Avamarie said she had a lot of shopping time to make up.

"I would love it if it Bayfair was open 24 hours."

They would follow up with a visit to the pools which Avamarie had been unable to do for a year because of the risk of infections, George said.

"It has been an intense year and Christmas is something we will celebrate more than ever because things have gone so well, when it could have been so different... some are not so lucky and we are so thankful that she has pulled through."

BATTLE: At just 9 years old Avamarie endured a year of treatment for a potentially deadly cancer and could only eat via a feeding tube. PHOTO/John Borren
BATTLE: At just 9 years old Avamarie endured a year of treatment for a potentially deadly cancer and could only eat via a feeding tube. PHOTO/John Borren

It was back in November 2017, when George took her previously fit daughter to the doctors thinking she had a kidney infection.

Breaking the news that it was cancer was the hardest thing she ever had to do.

The tight-knit pair were in tears when they retold the Bay of Plenty Times the scene.

"The doctors have found a big lump on your tummy. It is making you sick, so they have to make it smaller with medicine, and then they are going to take it out. Do you know what the name for it is?

"She looked up at me. Her eyes were so so scared. I have never seen that look in anyone before and I never want to see that again.

"It was real fear, and when I looked right back at her I knew what she saw in my face was the same raw terror."

Avamarie asked her: "Mum, do I have cancer? Am I going to die?"

Avamarie had her kidney removed in six hours of surgery and then a year of gruelling treatment followed: a 25-week cycle of intense chemotherapy, epidurals, endless MRI scans, radiation.

BRAVE: Cancer sufferer Avamarie has hundreds of beads to mark her treatments. PHOTO/John Borren
BRAVE: Cancer sufferer Avamarie has hundreds of beads to mark her treatments. PHOTO/John Borren

Her tiny arms became peppered in pinpricks from endless blood tests and she battled infections, rashes, dizziness, vomiting and pain. Her weight plummeted and she could only take liquid nutrition via a feeding tube. She lost all sense of taste.

The combination of Avamarie's bravery and her mother's unwavering support helped the pair survive the year, and they are now looking forward to the future.

She has put on weight, her hair is growing back and the 20cm scar on her stomach has already faded.

Now, every day is special for the pair and simple things like a summer swim together seem like the most amazing things in the world, George said.

"We have been through so much, and now appreciate so much too... just to be able just to go to the shops, plunge in the water, eat an icecream, see Avie smiling and go back to school next year, it is like it is Christmas every single minute of every day."

TWO: Avamarie's mum Desiree never left her side during the year long battle against cancer. PHOTO/John Borren
TWO: Avamarie's mum Desiree never left her side during the year long battle against cancer. PHOTO/John Borren

Every week more than three children in New Zealand are diagnosed with cancer.

The Child Cancer Foundation is helping more than 500 families across New Zealand.

To support these families, Child Cancer Foundation must raise at least $6 million every year.

Donate to Avie's fundraiser for Child Cancer Foundation here.