Inspirational Sheffield sports star who lost her leg to bone cancer vows to beat rare disease

The inspiring Imogen Ellis. Pic: Bob Westerdale
The inspiring Imogen Ellis. Pic: Bob Westerdale
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A sixteen year old schoolgirl who is battling a rare bone cancer and had a leg amputated just four weeks ago is inspiring other by insisting: "I will beat this."

Sheffield United fan Imogen Ellis contracted 'ewing sarcoma' in 2016 - it affects fewer than 30 children in the UK a year.

Imogen Ellis (s)

Imogen Ellis (s)

She started suffering knee pains and was forced to stop attending Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School and exercising at the local S18 gym. Then the disease spread to her lungs.

Yet despite that and the recent surgery the Dronfield Woodhouse girl attended a fund raising event in her honour at S18 on Sunday.

Family and friends, inspired by her courage, aim to raise up to £30,000 to fund a state-of-the-art prosthetic limb.

"NHS legs are good but my parents want the best you can possibly get, I think it is their way of helping me get over it" she said.

Imogen Ellis (s)

Imogen Ellis (s)

She said she was "definitely" going to beat cancer insisting: "I'm very confident."

Imogen, a keen horse-rider, hockey and netball player before her illness, recalled: "I was a really sporty person and then (last year) I started to get aches in my knee. I had an MRI scan fan and found out I had a type of bone cancer in my leg.

"My plan was to have chemotherapy, and then maybe radiotherapy, and an operation to get rid of it.

"I have been trying to carry on as normal as possible, throughout it all. Some days I do have my down days. But I try to carry on doing things that I did before.

Imogen and her dad, Richard

Imogen and her dad, Richard

"It is really difficult when I am on chemotherapy because some days I can't actually get out of bed."

She said illness has made her realise "not to take anything for granted and do as much" as she can when she feels well enough.

"I used to come to the gym all the time with my friends, I did some boxing training on the pads.

"I became good friends with (owners) Andy and Fallon Marlow" - they organised Sunday's fund-raising event at their Callywhite Lane base - said Imogen, who has two brothers, one sister and four step brothers.

Helpers like them, she said, "have all been really amazing.

"I can't believe how much support I've got. People I wasn't really close to before they are really supporting me and raising money.

"They are all trying their hardest to get me the best possible leg" said Imogen, who is being treated at Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield.

Her father Richard, of Hollingwood, Chesterfield, said support and financial pledges for Imogen had been "immense."

"A top of the range prosthetic limb can cost anywhere from £15-30,000 but we have so many people wanting to take part, we can do it" he said.

"On July 1, we are having a sponsored walk from Bramall Lane to the Hollingwood Hotel in Chesterfield - anything from 200 to 300 people will be taking part in that."

Richard said the family were in awe of Imogen's recovery powers.

"Within a few hours of the amputation she was smiling - she'd told us to have a pizza waiting for her, after the op!

"As for beating the disease, I say the same thing to her all the time: "You can, you will."

Imogen has a "just giving" fund raising page: https://www.gofundme.com/pjkkr4-prosthetic-leg