First Steps to recovery for poorly Doncaster schoolgirl Alisha

Alisha Jessop, aged 14, with her mum Joanne Howe, of Intake, and the Steps tickets.
Alisha Jessop, aged 14, with her mum Joanne Howe, of Intake, and the Steps tickets.
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SHE has been so ill she has not been able to go to her Doncaster school for three years.

But this weekend Alisha Jessop, from Intake, was able to thank her doctors for the music as she launched a big week with her first trip out in three years - to see Steps in concert.

And the 14-year-old is finally well enough after four major operations because of Crohn’s disease to have returned this week to lessons at Danum Academy.

Now she is making plans for more nights out - she has tickets to see Doncaster pop star Louis Tomlinson’s group One Direction when they next come to South Yorkshire.

Alisha’s big week follows a gruelling run of operations which finally came to an end six months ago.

Doctors had warned it may be a year before she recovered from her most recent surgery.

But she has delighted medics with her recovery from four major operations to remove her bowel, colon and large intestine because of the illness she has suffered since she was a small child.

She set herself a target of seeing Steps after the operation.

The Danum Academy pupil said: “Being ill has been pretty tough. It’s hard to keep friends when I’m never at school and too ill to play, but I’m feeling much better now and have been back to school to choose my options.”

Mum Joanne Howe said: “Alisha was so poorly when she heard that Steps were planning a reunion tour, the thought never crossed my mind to get tickets.

“When you have an ill child you don’t plan things in advance as you never know what is going to happen next - but Alisha was determined, she wanted to be well enough to see her favourite band live.

“They were her favourite group when she was little. She was singing along to all their songs.”

Alisha has been ill for around 10 years and for the last three years she has been taught at the Doncaster Royal Infirmary’s school.

Mum Joanne described her as tired after her first day back at mainstream school for years.

She said: “She is taking it slowly. She is still going to the hospital. She still needs to see a dermatologist, and has to have vitamin and calcium injections, and she has a liquid diet.

“It has been four years since she has been out with her friends so it has been a steep curve.

“She has got such a lot better. Last October they were talking about her going to Great Ormond Street for stem cell treatment, but she wasn’t well enough.

“Being back at Danum means a lot to her.”

Valda Forbes, gastroenterology and hepatology nurse specialist at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, where Alish had her operation, paid tribute to Alisha for her courage.

She said: ”Alisha is so brave and never complains, she just gets on with life.

“Before Christmas Alisha had surgery to remove the remainder of her bowel and to fit a stoma in the opposite side of her stomach because the Crohn’s had caused so much damage.

“We’re so happy the operation was a success and she’s finally well enough to enjoy herself.”

Crohn’s disease is a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system. There is currently no cure for Crohn’s disease so the aim of treatment is to control the symptoms, which include abdominal pain and extreme tiredness.