The mother of a Blackpool girl who lost her leg to a rare type of bone cancer today spoke proudly of her daughter’s bravery.
Alison Hayden, 10, had her left leg amputated last month after doctors discovered a tumour growing and is gearing up for her second round of chemotherapy – just as her hair was starting to grow back.
Mum Amanda, of Lennox Gate, in South Shore, praised the youngster’s “cheerful” outlook as she learns to cope with the life-changing surgery.
It comes as members of the community have rallied round to help raise thousands of pounds to buy her a prosthetic leg.
Mrs Hayden, 33, said: “She has been very limited as to what she can do.
“She had a brand new bike for Christmas and she has yet to use it. We are looking forward to getting her prosthetic and getting her back to riding her bike.
“When she learns to walk on it, nothing will stop her – she is a very determined young lady.”
The new leg, costing thousands of pounds, will be purchased using money raised by Gilly and Lenny Price, who run Sweet n Sour Sweet Shop, on Highfield Road.
Alison said she was “overwhelmed” by the gesture. The 10-year-old added: “I think it’s very nice that they are doing this.
“I think I am all right with what has happened because it is for the best – but it has been difficult.”
Mrs Hayden, who is on carer’s leave from her job at the Department for Work and Pensions, said: “She has always been a happy child anyway but she has been very positive about this – she is still very cheerful. We recently got back from Manchester, where she was having wheelchair races up and down the ward. She is always smiling and laughing.
“The cancer ward is a very distressing place to be, there’s no doubt about it, but it’s also a very happy place. There are tears but there’s always laughter as well.”
Supported by their staff, Mr and Mrs Price started a raffle, with prizes donated by local businesses, after being moved by Alison’s story.
Mrs Price said: “Kids are our business and she is one of our kids.
“Alison and her sister were among the first customers to step through our door when we opened five years ago.”
Brave Alison’s troubles began 18 months ago when she started having difficulty walking. Mrs Price said she looked like a “ballerina” because she would always walk on her tiptoes.
During her treatment, a physiotherapist spotted the lump on the Hawes Side Primary School pupil’s leg back in May, which tests confirmed was a tumour. The next month she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.
Mrs Hayden said: “She began chemo in July at Manchester Children’s Hospital. She spent the whole summer holidays in hospitals.
“Then, at the beginning of September, we were told they were unable to save her leg and she would need it amputated.”
The surgery took place in Birmingham on September 24. The tumour has gone but doctors have ordered another course of chemotherapy to kill off any cancer cells that have spread into the rest of her body.
Mrs Hayden added: “She did have shoulder length hair. She was really pleased that it was growing back and she was quite upset that it’s going again.”
Collection buckets have been installed at various points in South Shore, and raffle tickets are on sale at Sweet n Sour Sweet Shop.
The winner will be drawn on November 7 at a family fun day outside the shop.