LITTLE Lily Willis has got the best new year’s start after getting the all-clear from cancer. The nine-year-old had to have major surgery when doctors discovered a bone tumour had developed in her right leg.
But now she is up on her feet again, and doctors have told Lily and her family the schoolgirl is free from cancer.
Called osteogenic sarcoma, surgeons feared they would be forced to amputate, but embarked on a rare procedure in a bid to salvage her limb.
After a 14-hour operation, they managed to cut out the tumour and replace part of her femur, knee and shin with a stainless steel joint.
The steel contraption is attached to Lily’s bones and will extend as she grows because it contains magnets.
But Lily’s journey back to health did not end there.
The youngster, from Great Lumley, near Chester-le-Street, County Durham, needed months of gruelling chemotherapy.
And now, doctors at the Great North Children’s Hospital at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, have told Lily and her family the schoolgirl is free from cancer.
Lily’s mum Tori, 30, said: “We have got a bottle of Champagne ready. It is brilliant that Lily doesn’t have to have any more treatment and no more chemotherapy. We have her back.
“It has been a huge weight off our minds when we think some kids might not be as lucky as Lily.
“She has been so amazing. It has all gone over her head and she has just got on with it.”
The family, which includes dad Bryan, 40, and Lily’s sisters Ruby, two, and Jessie, five, can look to the future together.
“We are so proud of her, and looking back we don’t know how we have got through it,” said Tori.
Tori said Lily’s health is going from strength-to-strength now her course of chemotherapy has finished.
And while she may have to have more surgery when she reaches her teenage years, the Lumley Junior School pupil is looking forward to getting her independence back.
Tori said: “Lily is doing a full week at school now as well and she keeps saying how much energy she has.”
Lily will also be going to Disneyland Paris for her 10th birthday in November after all her pals at school and other friends of the family got involved in a fundraising campaign.
“She can’t wait – she wants to go now,” said Tori. “We have decided to go then so that Lily is as strong as she possibly can be. She wanted to go straightaway but her consultant said she can’t go yet.
“2012 could not have got any worse and we all know that 2013 is going to be a good year for us.”