IF there was ever a teenager deserving of a perfect prom night it’s Laila Pollard.

Not only was the swanky end-of-school send-off something the 15-year-old thought she might never see, it resulted in her getting a standing ovation from her friends and teachers due to her lion-hearted battle against leukaemia.

Laila was diagnosed with the type of cancer of the blood, in October 2011. Since then she’s been through gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

But the teen is never without a smile and last week as her classmates headed to Stockbrook Manor in Billericay for a glitzy evening of fun, that smile was never wider.

For many girls the prom is time to hit the hairdressers for a glam prom “updo”, but due to rounds of gruelling chemotherapy, Laila has lost her once waist-length brown hair.

Never one to wallow, Laila looked simply stunning as she stepped out in her pink and black gown.

Laila said: “Part of me wished I still had long hair, but it didn’t matter. For me, the prom was a big thing, just like it was to all my friends. “We spent a lot of time talking about what we were going to wear. I got my dress online. It didn’t cost too much, but it had to be altered to fit.

“The evening was brilliant and we had a three-course meal and then dancing.”

Laila had a surprise in store during the evening as she was named “Most Inspirational Student” – an award voted for by fellow pupils.

Teaching staff from the school also demonstrated their admiration for the youngster, as they clubbed together to donate £50 towards the local charity Be Child Cancer Aware, which helped Laila make it through the hard times during her cancer battle.

Throughout her recovery Laila, who is a keen amateur photographer and also a big Olly Murs fan, has been helping to raise awareness for the charity’s Beads of Courage programme.

She even donated her hair to a cause which helps young girls going through cancer.

Her mum Emma Truss, 35, said: “When her hair started coming out Laila decided to take control of it. She didn’t want it just falling out in chunks, so she had it all cut off and donated the hair to a charity which makes wigs for children who lose their hair to chemo.”

Despite missing more than a year of classes at Gaynes School in Upminster, Laila was determined to succeed academically.

Laila says: “For me the prom was really special as there was times when I was so ill we didn’t know if I’d be able to go. The thought of it did keep me going sometimes.

“It’s a night to celebrate with our friends and although it was a bit emotional we had so much fun.”