It’s time to throw the tablets away – and Sheffield schoolgirl Ellie Thompson couldn’t be happier!
Ellie, aged 11, from Jordanthorpe, has fought leukaemia for more than two years, but has now been told by doctors she is free from cancer.
The youngster has endured gruelling chemotherapy, and having to take nearly 50 different tablets, lotions and medicines for side-effects ranging from nosebleeds to dry skin.
Ellie’s mum Lindsey, 33, said her daughter once managed to take 11 pills in a single dose, and had a strict schedule to make sure she took her medication on time.
“I used to say she would rattle, she was taking that many tablets,” said Lindsey, a nursery nurse.
“It was a struggle at first, but after a couple of months she was just amazing.
“Now the doctors have said there’s no cancer in her body and they hope to keep it that way.
“She can come off treatment and get back to normal life. She’s kicked cancer. I’m hoping with every ounce of my being that we can draw a line under it, move on and we can be okay.”
Ellie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in February 2011.
The previous year both Ellie and her younger brother Josh, eight, had suffered chest infections, but Ellie didn’t recover as quickly as her sibling and was left with a repetitive cough.
Tests showed her white blood cell count was low, and at the start of 2012 Ellie became more poorly.
“She just looked ill, her skin colour changed and her hands were so skinny,” said Lindsey. “They did another blood test and then I got a letter saying we had been referred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
“We took her there and they said they wanted to do a bone marrow biopsy. We got the results the same day.”
Lindsey said she and husband Carl, 38, were ‘horrified’ by the diagnosis.
“It was very surreal. We’d thought it was possible but never voiced it to each other. Our whole world was just shattered. Josh has been through the mill as well.
“But the hospital have been amazing, they scooped us up and told us what they were going to do. From then on you don’t have time to think about it.”
Ellie was put on high-dose chemotherapy immediately, and responded well. She was given another bout of intensive chemo, some of which she had at home.
“She’s had hundreds of visits to hospital,” said Lindsey.
“And all the tablets she had to take were above and beyond the chemo. They were all to counteract the side-effects. She had to have lotions for her skin, cream for her nose to stop nosebleeds, medicines for mouth ulcers, painkillers, there were so many.
“Once she took 11 tablets at once, and put them all on one spoon.
“My brother bought us a big whiteboard because we were so worried we weren’t going to remember what tablets she had to take.”
Ellie missed a whole year of classes at Norton Free Primary School, but was tutored at home, and is now on track to start Year 7 at Meadowhead School in September.
She will need check-ups at hospital for many years to come.
Lindsey said: “She’s brilliant in herself now, although she’s lost a lot of her strength so spent most of the last two years in a wheelchair.
“But she’s got beautiful hair now – she was blonde before, and now it’s come back dark and wavy!”
In January 2012 Ellie was featured in The Star meeting boyband One Direction backstage at Sheffield City Hall, and Carl – who runs his own firm servicing fire extinguishers and alarms - is taking part in a coast-to-coast cycle across England in August in aid of Sheffield Children’s Hospital charity PACT.
Visit www.justgiving.com/Ellies-Heroes to donate.