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Brave Erin fighting back from cancer

Little fighter: Seven year-old Erin Gray, who was diagnosed with leukaemia in December 2012 and has undergone a gruelling series of treatments. Erin and mum Lorraine Rigby with Erins treatment necklace. Each bead represents an aspect of her therapy

Little fighter: Seven year-old Erin Gray, who was diagnosed with leukaemia in December 2012 and has undergone a gruelling series of treatments. Erin and mum Lorraine Rigby with Erins treatment necklace. Each bead represents an aspect of her therapy

When young dancer Erin Gray started limping, doctors said she may be flat footed, or at worst have a virus which she would get over.

What they did not know was Erin, who was just six-years-old, had cancer and needed to undergo chemotherapy in a bid to beat it.

Mum Lorraine Rigby today described her daughter’s brave fight as she continues to battle back from the deadly disease.

“The way Erin has dealt with all of this is inspirational,” said Lorraine.

“She has stayed so positive and I think that’s helped us cope. She’s gone from screaming while the doctors put needles into her to going into the hospital and showing them her veins.

“She’s been so brave throughout everything and we’re so proud of her.”

Erin, who is now seven, started limping around May 2012, and it took six months before tests showed she had Perthes’ Disease – a condition at the top of the thigh bone which causes it to soften and break down.

Thinking that was the only devastating news they would receive, Lorraine and Erin’s dad Richard Gray decided they would be able to cope.

Lorraine, of Douglas Avenue, Wesham, said: “We were quite positive, and we even said it was life changing, but not life threatening.

“The worse case scenario was that she would need a hip replacement later in life.”

But soon afterwards Erin, a pupil at St Joseph’s Primary School in Wesham, became lethargic and starting experiencing terrible night sweats.

Doctors again diagnosed a virus but, following a short dance exam, Erin told her parents she was in so much pain she couldn’t move her legs.

Lorraine, 49, said: “She kept asking us to carry her because her legs wouldn’t work, and it was like she was paralysed from the waist down.

“We took her back to the doctors and asked if there were any tests they could do.”

They sent Erin to Blackpool Victoria Hospital for blood tests, where she was diagnosed with Leukaemia.

“We were devastated,” Lorraine said.

“We were starting on this rollercoaster of emotions and I still don’t know how we coped.”

But Erin proved herself a fighter, and took to the chemotherapy so well she was able to return to school the following March.

She still has to have a full blood transfusion every six weeks, and has chemotherapy everyday at home as well as intravenously every four weeks, which leaves her feeling lethargic.

Erin will come off chemotherapy in 40 weeks and will have check ups at Manchester Children’s Hospital for the next three years.

Lorraine added: “Erin astounds me.

“You hear the word cancer and you can’t help but think it’s a death sentence, but Erin has a really good prognosis.”

 

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