Meet our ballet queen

Seven-year-old Lily is now fit and well after being treated in the Bubble Unit when she was 13 months old. Lily, from Whitley Bay in North Tyneside, was diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening condition called HLH (hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis) which meant her body didn’t know when to stop attacking bugs or illnesses. Without treatment, Lily was at serious risk of having total organ failure.

Lily’s mum, Maureen, said: “Before Lily was diagnosed with HLH, I just knew something was wrong. She constantly had cold symptoms, no energy, was in pain and had a rash which kept moving.

“We found out she was extremely ill when she was taken to hospital and they told us she had a very enlarged spleen and liver, and her white blood cell count was very high. At the time, we didn’t know what was wrong. When we were referred to specialists in Newcastle, HLH was eventually diagnosed. “I’ve never experienced such gut wrenching fear. When you see your child going through that suffering, you’d give anything for it to be you in their place. The support network you have around you at The Bubble is what got us through. The research and treatments the team are pioneering are just incredible and without that, we wouldn’t be where we are today, with the happy little girl we have. I would urge people everywhere to support The Bubble – it really does make all the difference.”

Now Lily is back at home and living life to the fullest – just like any other seven-year-old girl. “She is absolutely thriving today. She goes to school and is the picture of health – taking part in such a wide range of activities from ballet and gymnastics, to swimming and judo.”