Friends help with travel costs as Millie fights second cancer battle

Date published: 19 February 2019

When friends at Whitworth Community High School heard of Millie O’Shea's second cancer battle they started fundraising to help with travel costs and raised over raised £1,000.

Millie, now 15 from Shawforth, was just three when she was found to have a Wilms’ tumour, which was growing inside her kidney. Following chemotherapy, she had the affected kidney removed, but secondary tumours were detected in her lungs and spread to her lymph nodes.

She had 34 weeks of gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy and was finally given the all clear in 2008.

Now, the GCSE student and her family, parents Susan and Garry and sisters Carrie and Laura, are going through the trauma all over again, as eleven years after winning her first cancer battle, Millie was dealt the devastating news that another tumour has been found in her lungs.

Millie said: “I have no memory of when I was younger. When they told me I had cancer again at first I was just numb, then everyone started crying and I did too.

“I have noticed that my hair is now falling out and I have been feeling rubbish but I just have to get on with it. I am determined to beat it.”

She began her latest round of chemotherapy at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital on Monday 11 February.

She plays football for Rochdale U16s Ladies and it was after a match in January that she began suffering aches and pains.

Millie had an MRI and a CT scan, x-rays and an ultrasound, which revealed a lump in her lungs.

Further tests and a biopsy showed a Wilms’ tumour had returned and medics put it down to a ‘rogue cell’ that radiotherapy didn’t destroy.

Her mum Susan said: “She has had six days of intensive chemotherapy and then will have a week and four days off and then it will all start again.

“It is a long way to travel each day and it takes two hours to get there because the hospital is now in the centre of Manchester.

“When they put the Hickman line in to administer the chemotherapy she had to have a biopsy on her lungs and she was in so much pain.”

Once she has had two cycles of chemotherapy a further check will be made on the tumour. If it has shrunk it will be surgically removed, if it has gone she will be given radiotherapy, but if it’s has not changed Millie will be given a trial drug.

Her school friend Sky Aldcroft, 15, said: “The girls as a group are all really close to Millie and when we found out we were devastated. It was just awful.

“We started by getting things together for a hamper for when she was in hospital with new pyjamas, sweets and chocolate. Then we asked school if we could do a fundraiser.”

Students could wear a pink item and paid a forfeit, but Lily May-Maddock, 16, said: “Students didn’t just give us £1 they were giving £20 notes as they knew the money was going to Millie.

“Millie is such a larger than life character, we all miss her.”

The day, which also saw pink ribbons being sold, a cake sale and other events raised £1,406.97 to help the family with transport costs, and although she was exhausted, Millie managed to attend.

Lily added: “Millie is a fighter and she will fight this again.”

Sky added: “She is not taking this negatively and she is not giving in to it. She is the one who is being strong for us and Millie is keeping us all going.”

Britannia shop, Demi-licious Top Shop, is raising money so if Millie is not well enough to attend her school prom in June, she will be able to invite her friends to a prom at the same location later in the year.

Love ABA Police Boxing in Waterfoot held a collection at a show and a Go Fund Me page has raised £658.

Millie is keeping her friends informed of her progress through her Facebook page Millie O’Shea’s Journey.

Susan added: “Millie keeps everyone going. I have not been well myself, but she pushes me to keep me going. She is under the same consultant Professor Bernadette Brennan at the hospital and some of the staff on Ward 84 also remember Millie from the first time she was in hospital.

Every year 80-85 children are diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumour, 85 per cent are successfully treated but a small number relapse.

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