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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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Cumbrian youngster continuing to defy doctors

A brave youngster is continuing to defy the odds three years after doctors advised her parents to turn off life-support.

Lillie-Mai photo
Lillie-Mai with mum Belinda

Most of Lillie-Mai Jackson’s three-and-a-half years has been a constant battle, ever since she was rushed into hospital when she was 14 weeks old after contracting meningitis.

Her family was told she wouldn’t pull through and were asked to consider turning off her life support machine in 2011.

Lillie-Mai won her fight for life but lost two legs and an arm and has had many setbacks. Despite this she continues to push through: her speech and understanding are excellent, she shuffles around the floor, rides a scooter and even goes to swimming lessons.

Mum Belinda Little says she never thought she would be sitting in her Maryport home watching Lillie-Mai happily playing like a normal toddler after looking back at the time when she was hooked up to machines in hospital and not knowing whether she would survive the next hour.

“She’s so happy every day and is always smiling,” said the 25-year-old. “I never thought she would get this far – she’s doing brilliantly.

“She’s top of the class in nursery – she’s as good as any other three-year-old.

“She loves playing with other kids and the nursery is fantastic with her. She loves dancing and music and can count to 18.”

Grandmother Margaret Little added: “She’s very clever. She goes round on her bum.

“There’s nothing stopping her. She can write with her hand and pulls the pen lid off with her ‘baby’ arm.”

However, as Lillie-Mai gets older, she is starting to ask questions about why her legs are how they are.

“How do you answer that?” said her mum. “We have just got to tell her the best we can and tell her that she was poorly as a baby.”

Even though Lillie-Mai has taken many positive strides, she now faces her 16th operation in a fortnight’s time to remove pieces of bone left in her leg after it was amputated, which is causing infection.

It is hoped that after the eight-hour operation, Lillie-Mai will be able to wear prosthetic legs and be walking by the time she turns four in October.

When she turns five it will cost around £28,000 a year to fund a new set of specialist prosthetic legs, which bend at the knee, until she turns 18.

Family and friends have raised thousands of pounds through fundraising events, but are still desperate for more money to see her through the coming years.

Lillie-Mai’s family is now hoping to take the youngster on a “trip-of-a-lifetime” to Disneyland Paris once she has recovered from her latest operation.

And they are appealing for anyone who can help make the dream come true to get in touch.

“It would mean the world to her to see Mickey and Minnie Mouse,” said Belinda. “She got poorly when she was just 14 weeks old and ever since we have never had the time to go on holiday and spend time as a family.

“With her going back into hospital, this could be one special treat for her to remember for the rest of her life.”

  • To help with funds for the family holiday to Disneyland Paris contact Margaret on 07526 859876.
  • Anyone wanting to support Lillie-Mai’s artificial limb appeal can leave money for the Lillie-Mai Trust at any branch of the Cumberland Building Society.

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