EIGHT-YEAR-OLD Lily Willis is looking to the future after battling back from bone cancer.
The brave youngster’s family was warned she might lose her right leg after being diagnosed with a bone cancer tumour in the limb.
But after a gruelling 14-hour operation, it’s hoped she can now start looking forward again.
Mum Tori, of Great Lumley, in County Durham, said: “She started limping and we thought it was just growing pains at first.
“Then she came home from cross-country at school one day and she couldn’t walk properly, so we took her straight to the doctors.”
Lily has now had pioneering surgery to remove the tumour and replace part of her femur, knee and shin with a stainless steel joint.
Medics managed to save Lily’s leg in the extremely rare procedure, known as limb salvage surgery.
The steel contraption is attached to Lily’s bones and will extend as she grows.
She will probably need more surgery as a teenager, but it is hoped the Lumley Junior School pupil could soon be strong enough to play with her classmates again.
The little fighter is now undergoing a gruelling 20-week course of chemotherapy and is recovering at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Tori added: “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves because Lily doesn’t feel sorry for herself.
“She is always thinking of other people.
“The first thing that she said when she was told her leg might be amputated was that her friends would be upset.”
When Lily first fell ill she responded by comforting others.
She began to make friendship bracelets, key rings and “revival packs” for other children at the Great North Children’s Hospital.
“I don’t think she realised when she saw all the other poorly girls and boys that she was one of those kids,” said Tori.