Toddler enjoys first family Christmas at home after having ELEVEN tumours removed from all over her body
Lily Atkinson, 2, was diagnosed with cancer neuroblastoma a week before her first birthdayTumours spread to her skull, arms, legs, spine, pelvis and chestAfter undergoing eight rounds of chemotherapy she is now strong enough to enjoy Christmas with all her family
18:24 GMT, 14 December 2012
A brave two-year-old girl who battled with multiple tumours all over her body is to enjoy her first real family Christmas at home.
Lily Atkinson, from Sheffield, was diagnosed with the cancer neuroblastoma a week before her first birthday in June 2011.
After having the primary tumour removed from her chest, Lily underwent chemotherapy treatment which destroyed nine others and doctors are hoping the last one, on her skull, which is already shrinking, will eventually disappear.
First Christmas at home: Lily Atkinson (left) with her mother Angela, father Anthony and sister Grace
Her mother Angela, a learning consultant, 41, said she and husband Jonathan were shocked when the they heard the news.
said: 'We were devastated – I felt numb when I found out. We weren't
expecting it and when we discovered it was 11 tumours we were shocked.'
Despite being home on Christmas Eve last year Lily Atkinson could not see any extended family as her immune system was too weak.
Excited: Lily can't wait to spend her first Christmas at home with her family
She underwent eight rounds of chemotherapy at Sheffield Children's Hospital to treat a primary tumour in her chest and ten tumours that had spread throughout her body and to her skull.
'The consultant said she had one on her skull, each arm, each leg, spine, pelvis and chest.
'We were in hospital until Christmas Eve last year – but she's really excited about having a proper Christmas this year.'
'I'm thrilled – it will be nice to have the family round. We've gone a bit mad and got her loads of presents.
'She had eight rounds of chemotherapy and was in for a week each time. She's been in and out of hospital every month since she was diagnosed.
'The lowest point was last Christmas when she developed an infection but they couldn't find out where it was so she had to have a few blood transfusions and was put in an isolation ward because of the infection. We were fearing the worst.'
Lily, 2, pictured here during treatment, has had eight rounds of chemotherapy to rid her body of tumours
'She finished chemotherapy treatment in February and she had another infection after that but it has settled down since then.
'She had the primary tumour removed from her chest and the chemotherapy has zapped the rest.
'Doctors are going to leave the one on her skull which is shrinking to see if it disappears.
'Hopefully in February when she has another scan it will have gone and we're hoping that will be an end to it. She will still be monitored and scanned until she's an adult.'
The mother-of-two added: 'We're excited for Christmas this
year – last year she wasn't well. We're going to be at home and see
family and friends – last year we didn't really celebrate it at all.'
'She's really excited for Christmas – her personality has really changed this year.'
Putting a brave face on it : Lily has spend much of her young life at Sheffield Children's Hospital
Feeling better: Lily enjoys spending time with her elder sister Grace, four
Mr Atkinson, 42, who works as a retail manager said: 'We were devastated – nothing prepares you for it. Your world just falls apart, nothing can describe it.
'She's not had any treatment for four months and she keeps going back for scans. She has still got one tumour on her skull but the doctors are seeing if that will go away on its own.
'She's put weight back on, her hair's coming back and her skin is a lot better because it was really pale. Looking at her now you wouldn't really know any difference.'
Fewer than 100 children are diagnosed each year with neuroblastoma in the UK. It is a cancer of specialised nerve cells called neural crest cells and can occur all over the body.
said they were called at 5pm on Christmas Eve last year and told she
could come home for Christmas but the family 'didn't really have a
Christmas' because Lily's immune system was too low for her to have
'Nothing prepares you for it. Your world just falls apart,' says Lily's mother Angela
Our first Christmas: Lily and her family already have plenty of decorations including lights, a Christmas tree and a giant Santa
Lily and her elder sister Grace, four, are now looking forward to the big day this year and Anthony said they will be inviting family round to join in the festivities.
They already have plenty of decorations including lights, a Christmas tree, a giant Santa and even a musical Christmas doorbell.
He said: 'I think Lily is looking forward to what Father Christmas is going to bring her. She has a little comfort blanket and she says she wants a pink one from Father Christmas.'
'This time last year was completely different to where we are now.'