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Horsham girl Ellie Mae's brave battle with cancer doctors missed 11 times
A little girl whose cancer was missed 11 times before she was diagnosed has had her courage recognised with a special award.
Ellie Mae Wile-Dunne, five, also had to fight E.coli and pneumonia and is just learning to walk again after treatment damaged her bones.
The youngster has received a Cancer Research UK Little Star award for the bravery she has shown throughout her treatment.
The awards, in partnership with TK Maxx, acknowledge the unique challenges faced by youngsters who encounter cancer.
Ellie Mae was nominated for the award by proud parents Nikki and Jim. Nikki said: “Despite all she has been through, Ellie still smiles and giggles. She really is a little star.”
Ellie Mae, from Southwater, near Horsham, first became ill last summer, shortly before her fourth birthday. She was lethargic and pale and had a stream of ailments.
Her parents took her to the GP and the hospital again and again but she was usually sent home with antibiotics.
In August the family made a flying visit to Plymouth and a relative who had been a senior theatre nurse told her parents to take her straight to hospital and demand a blood test.
She was admitted within the hour and later diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Ellie Mae was transferred to Bristol Children’s Hospital and given the first of many chemotherapy drugs before being transferred to the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton.
After 33 days in hospital, Ellie Mae went home but within 48 hours her temperature spiked and she was rushed to Worthing Hospital where she was diagnosed with E.coli and pneumonia.
Ellie Mae was finally able to start school in May, although she had to use a wheelchair and frame as she re-learned to walk.
Three days into the summer holidays she broke her left leg, due to a calcium deficiency caused by the effects of the chemotherapy and steroids.
In November she was strong enough to take her first steps unaided, and she is slowly getting stronger.
Jim said: “We still have another year of treatment ahead of us and nobody knows what that year holds for us.
"But we owe Ellie Mae’s survival to the incredible advances that have been made in children’s cancer research.
“Hopefully the next year will work out find and Ellie Mae will complete her treatment as planned and lead a healthy life.”
A Cancer Research UK spokeswoman said: “Ellie Mae really is a ‘Little Star’ and richly deserves this award.
"She has been through a terribly tough time but she continues to sparkle and make her family proud.”
The Little Star Awards are open to all under-18s who have cancer or who have been treated for the disease in the last five years.
Each nominee receives a special trophy, TKMaxx vouchers and a certificate signed by a host of stars.
To nominate someone, visit www.cruk.org/littlestar.
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