Chicken Legs’ Arroyo
1598. Jenny Lucas
Jenny Lucas, from Glasgow, wrote and illustrated a children’s book in tribute to her friends' daughter, Maisie Arroyo, who died in September 2020, aged one, from a rare childhood cancer.
Maisie was born prematurely and nicknamed Chicken Legs due to her legs not being fully filled out when she was born. Jenny started writing the book originally as a first birthday present for Maisie, about a little armadillo named Chicken Legs. Maisie was diagnosed with a malignant rhabdoid tumour at six months old, and bravely underwent months of treatment at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, inspiring Jenny to continue writing a story about perseverance, bravery and overcoming life’s challenges with the support of good friends. Following Maisie’s death, Jenny decided to self-publish book to raise thousands of pounds for childhood cancer charity ‘LoveOliver’, founded by Points of Light Jennifer and Andy Gill, which supported Maisie and her family during her treatment.
In a personal letter to Jenny, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“You have made a beautiful tribute to Maisie’s life with your heartwarming book ‘Chicken Legs’ Arroyo’. Through grief you have created a universal story of strength and bravery.
“The thousands of pounds raised for ‘LoveOliver’ will boost research into childhood cancer and provide practical and emotional support for families. This is a wonderful tribute to Maisie.”
“It has been an honour to bring this story of “not being long or strong but brave when things go wrong” to life in memory and celebration of little Maisie Arroyo. Maisie was wonderful – funny, determined, full of sass. Her life was not long in the end – just one year, one week and one day. However, I’m hopeful that the funds which continue to be raised through the sale of Chicken Legs’ Arroyo for the fantastic children’s cancer charity, LoveOliver will build a legacy worthy of her in the years to come. I can’t express the pride I feel that families like Maisie’s, going through undoubtedly the most challenging times of their lives, will be supported by LoveOliver in her name as a result of this book. It has been so wonderful to see the amazing response from our local communities in Glasgow and Edinburgh (and beyond!) to Chicken Legs. I’m truly honoured to receive this award and so very grateful to everyone who has supported the book, LoveOliver and especially Maisie’s family through this difficult time.”
Pictured below: words and illustrations from Jenny’s book ‘Chicken Legs’ Arroyo