The family of a teenager who was given just one hour to live after undergoing brain surgery for a rare tumour are set to celebrate the family Christmas they never thought they would see.
Ellie Newitt arrived home on Tuesday just in time for Christmas after delays in finding a specially adapted house meant she had to stay in hospital nearly TEN months longer than planned.
But in what the family are calling a Christmas miracle the 13-year-old will finally return home from the Children’s Trust in Surrey just in time to celebrate the big day.
The family have praised volunteers and companies who have rallied round to help carry out work on their new home in Blaxton.
Ellie’s mum Marie said: “This is the best present we could have wished for.
“I can’t describe it, it’s so amazing. Ellie’s eight year old brother Ashton has been waiting for her to come home too, trying to explain to an eight-year-old why it keeps getting delayed is difficult, he just didn’t get it.
“The kids haven’t really asked for anything for Christmas all Ellie wants is to come home and go back to school and all Ashton wants is to have his mummy and sister home.
“It’s obviously been hard for me having to be away from him so much too. So many people have supported us and helped with last minute decorating and preparations just so Ellie would be home for Christmas.
“It’s going to be amazing just for us to have a bit of normality in our lives.”
Since her diagnosis with acute lymphatic leukaemia in July 2014 Ellie has undergone gruelling treatment including three major brain operations,
Ellie suffered 16 fits in 24 hours which left her paralysed from the neck down and also resulted in her losing her speech.
Throughout her stays at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Trust in Surrey she has spent time on a high dependency ward, contracted glandular fever which attacked her liver -but she never gave up.
“Ellie has never asked why this happened to her and never feels sorry for herself the only thing she has asked for is to go back to school and be at home, that’s all she has wanted.”
Family, friends and volunteers who have given up their time to help the Newitt family complete work on the property have even turned the garden into a Winter Wonderland to welcome Ellie back.
A special Christmas party will take place to make the occasion one to remember for her.
Ellie was ready to be discharged around April time but delays in getting a house that would be suitable to be adapted for the youngster’s needs caused delays.
Her family had to raise up to £30,000 for special adaptations so they can be together, but initially needed £5,000 for specialist disability equipment, including a car ramp and electrically-operated wheelchair.
Marie said: “We want to thank everyone who has helped get the house ready for us to be together this Christmas including Topps Tiles, Mission Mill’s and the Eve Merton Dreams Trust, without their help none of this would have been possible.”
Marie said she had prepared herself for losing her daughter when surgeons told her and her family – husband Darren, 37, and eight-year-old son Ashton– on August 28 that they had to say their final goodbyes as nothing more could be done.
“I just couldn’t get my head round it, we were told Ellie was going to die and nothing could be done.
“It was absolutely gutting and so hard to imagine life without her, we couldn’t get our heads around it and it just felt like our whole world had just ended.”
But the family say the determination of Professor Vora at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, who refused to give up on Ellie, saved her life.
“He saved her life. When Ellie had a brain bleed, one surgeon came and said she wasn’t going to make it - but Professor Vora still came in and gave her some expensive medication that they don’t usually give in the circumstances.
“He said it was still 50/50 if she would survive but he really pushed for her to have it and even came in at 3am when everyone else was saying she was going to die, he never gave up even though everyone said she wouldn’t make it, he’s our god.”
Ellie has come a long way since her brush with death and after gruelling physiotherapy, speech therapy and ongoing treatment is now trying to stand up, talk and even sing.
The youngster returned to see Professor Vora to thank him and show him just how far she had come
Marie said: “He was there right from the start when she was diagnosed with leukaemia to when she was told she would lose her hair and all way through even when she was transferred to neurology.
“Ellie took him a trophy that said ‘Thanks for never giving up on me’ - he was amazed when he saw how well she was doing.”
The courageous youngster is looking forward to returning to Hayfield school a couple of days a week.
Earlier in the year Ellie’s courage was rewarded with a VIP trip to see One Direction in concert and a chance to meet the popstars.
“Ellie is absolutely obsessed with them so it was amazing, they are a cracking set of lads, they were all really lovely.”
After enjoying a family Christmas, Ellie still has obstacles to overcome with ongoing chemotherapy, and 15 months of rehabilitation but in the New Year the family are hoping to get the news that Ellie has the all clear.
Fundraising work is still continuing to pay for additional modifications to the house including a wet room and for specialist equipment for Ellie.
Susan Jordan, Chief Executive of St Leger Homes, said: “We accept that it took time to find a property which Ellie and her family could make their home.
“The family needed to be near to their extended family for support which happens to be in an area where we have very few properties.
“We also needed to find a home which could be adapted to suit Ellie’s needs.
“The property the family have been given the tenancy of was the first which became available and we were very happy to be able to allocate it to them.
“We very much hope that moving to their new adapted home is the start of a new and positive chapter for Mr and Mrs Newitt and their family.”