A BRAVE schoolgirl who battled a rare form of cancer celebrates her seventh birthday today and the end of her treatment.
Lucy Thomas was the guest of honour at a party held on Sunday at Buchanan Sports And Social Club in Ramsbottom.
More than 140 people attended the celebration, among them her family, friends, classmates and teachers from Hazlehurst Primary School.
She received many gifts, including her favourite characters from Sylvanian Families.
Her mum Caroline, aged 41, said: “All along we promised her that when she finished her treatment, she would have a ‘getting better’ party and she has always focused on that.
“It worked out well that she finished her treatment near her seventh birthday.”
Lucy was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer, at the end of May.
Her parents, Stuart and Caroline, initially thought she had a cold, but rushed her to hospital concerned that she had something stuck in her nose.
After an operation, they were told that Lucy had a malignant tumour.
Caroline, of Stanford Hall Crescent, Ramsbottom, said: “I didn’t want to believe the words I had been told.
“You always think it happens to other people, not your daughter.
“Before that she was the healthiest child. She never went to the doctor.”
Lucy underwent several courses of chemotherapy at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and then flew to Oklahoma, in the USA, for proton beam therapy — specialist treatment which is not available in the UK.
And in December, Lucy had a clear scan showing that the cancer had gone.
Last week doctors removed her central line, which was used to give medication, and will have regular check-ups for many years.
Now Lucy’s hair is starting to grow back and she is looking forward to doing the things she loves — dancing, swimming, playing with her friends and going to brownies. She also wants to attend school for full days, instead of the half days she attended during her illness.
And she is looking forward to a family holiday to Disneyland Paris in May, which has been paid for by generous fundraisers.
More than £12,500 has been raised in honour of Lucy, including £8,500 for ward 84 at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and £2,000 for Children’s Cancer And Leuk-aemia Group.
Caroline added: “Mentally she has been through a lot and she has had to grow up so much. She has been unbelievable.
“We are really pleased with the clear scan, but we are quite anxious because it is still early days.
“Every time she has a scan or an appointment, the anxiety will be there because we never know what will happen. We have learned to live each day at a time.”