Teenage rugby player battling cancer is determined to continue fundraising after losing leg

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A talented teenage rugby player in Sheffield is determined to continue fundraising after making the brave decision to have part of her leg amputated.

Lulu Blundell has played rugby union for Sheffield Swans and rugby league for Wakefield Trinity, and the sporty 16-year-old has also swum for both Sheffield and Rotherham.

She was diagnosed in May with bone cancer in her lower left leg and began chemotherapy at Weston Park Hospital the following month, the day after celebrating her 16th birthday in style.

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The treatment went well but Lulu, who lives in Rotherham, was still faced with the tough decision to have part of her leg amputated to get rid of the cancer for good, and she underwent surgery last week.

Lulu Blundell, who began chemotherapy the day after her 16th birthdayLulu Blundell, who began chemotherapy the day after her 16th birthday
Lulu Blundell, who began chemotherapy the day after her 16th birthday
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Her dad Stephen described her illness as ‘every parent’s worst nightmare’ but said Lulu’s attitude throughout it all and her readiness to embrace what he called a ‘new life’ had been ‘inspirational’.

He also praised the rugby community whose support he called ‘incredibly humbling’ and which he said had given the family strength at such a difficult time.

“She’s looking forward to getting her prosthetic and starting her new life, and she’s doing well emotionally, but she’s devastated about not being able to play her rugby,” he said.

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“What’s happened is every parent’s worst nightmare but It’s really inspirational the way Lulu’s handled everything she’s going through at such a young age, and the determination she continues to show. That’s just the way she is.

“The support from both her rugby clubs has been phenomenal and lots of people have been amazing at helping her raise money. It’s been incredibly humbling.”

Lulu has already raised nearly £8,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, whose support at Weston Park she said has been ‘amazing’, and her sights are set on passing the £10,000 mark.

Several events are planned in the coming days and weeks to help get her closer to that target.

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On Sunday, November 24, Sheffield RUFC’s minis and juniors will hold a bake sale in the morning, while that afternoon the Swans, the girls section, will complete a sponsored walk from Weston Park via Weston Park Hospital to the club’s home at Abbeydale Park.

The following Friday, November 29, the club is auctioning a shirt signed by the England World Cup squad, and Sheffield Hallam University’s women’s rugby union team is doing a sponsored 24-hour bike ride on Lulu’s behalf.

Stephen told how it was at rugby training in January that Lulu had first experienced an unexplained pain in her foot and a ‘bit of awkwardness’.

When the pain failed to go away, her family knew something was up because Stephen said their ‘hard-as-nails, proper South Yorkshire lass’ is not one to complain about nothing.

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They took her to A&E but it was initially diagnosed as soft tissue damage from playing so much rugby.

It was only after several visits to her doctor that she eventually referred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital for a scan which revealed she had cancer, and she was immediately referred to specialists in Birmingham.