An inspirational nine-year-old girl has spoken of her terrifying ordeal after waging a six-month battle against bone cancer.
Since April this year Hannah Baker has been subject to surgery, constant hospital stays and chemotherapy.
The Heathfields School pupil and her family said they now wanted to raise awareness of bone cancer and the devastating consequences it can have.
The Baker family – dad Paul, 36, mum Shim, 35, and Hannah’s older sister Emily, 11, live in Clee St Margaret near Ludlow. They said after learning the horrifying news on April 3 that Hannah had a 22cm osteosarcoma tumour growing on her left femur their lives had been turned upside down.
Mrs Baker said: “Hannah had been doing lots of sports and complained that her leg was aching. But doctors said she had just pulled a muscle.
“At her friend’s house I picked her up to put her on my knee and she screamed. Our GP did not know what was wrong but sent us for an X-ray.
Three hours later I and Hannah were told they had found a tumour and it would be cancer.”
The couple said most of Hannah’s diagnosis had been sheer luck and if the cancer had not been caught early it could have proved fatal. In children and young people aged 10 to 24, about 450 cases of bone cancer are diagnosed each year – out of these about 100 will die. The survival rate has not changed for 20 years.
Hannah faced losing her leg, but surgeons managed to replace the femur with a metal rod which will ‘grow’ as she gets older.
Mrs Baker said: “Hannah is on a five-week programme. Week one is chemotherapy. Week two and three are blood transfusions. Weeks four and five in Birmingham Children’s Hospital for more high dose chemotherapy. Then the whole process starts again.”
Mr Baker added: “The cancer was 100 per cent removed and 100 per cent dead but the chemotherapy will continue until Christmas when hopefully she will be given the all clear.
“Hannah wanted to tell her story in the hope that others might be saved. This week is bone cancer awareness week and if anyone is concerned they can visit the Bone Cancer Research Trust website on www.bonecancerresearch.org.uk
Hannah has donated her cancerous femur to science.