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Nine-year-old loses battle with rare form of cancer

PUBLISHED: 12:42 09 September 2020 | UPDATED: 17:44 09 September 2020

Liam Hills, from Brandon, died following a battle with a rare form of cancer. Picture: Courtesy of Sian Atkins

Liam Hills, from Brandon, died following a battle with a rare form of cancer. Picture: Courtesy of Sian Atkins

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A “cheeky” nine-year-old boy has lost his two-year battle with a form of cancer that is rare in children.

Liam Hills, from Brandon, pictured with his mother, Sarah, and sister, Chloe. Picture: Courtesy of Sian AtkinsLiam Hills, from Brandon, pictured with his mother, Sarah, and sister, Chloe. Picture: Courtesy of Sian Atkins

Liam Hills, from Brandon, died in hospital surrounded by family and friends on Wednesday, September 2, following a brave fight with hepatocellular carcinoma.

The youngster had endured a traumatic ordeal involving chemotherapy, a liver transplant and radiotherapy, but doctors were ultimately unable to save him.

A fundraising page set up by close family friend, Sian Atkins, has already amassed £5,000 in donations to pay for Liam’s funeral costs.

Liam Hills, from Brandon, died following a battle with a rare form of cancer. Picture: Courtesy of Sian AtkinsLiam Hills, from Brandon, died following a battle with a rare form of cancer. Picture: Courtesy of Sian Atkins

“When this began we thought Liam just had a tummy ache, but he had this rare cancer on his liver,” said Miss Atkins, 22.

“After starting his chemotherapy the cancer suddenly got really ferocious and spread to most of his liver, so they had to cut away a chunk of it. It got so bad he ended up having a liver transplant.”

Following a further round of chemotherapy Liam was completely bald, with no eyebrows or eyelashes.

Liam Hills, from Brandon, pictured with family friend Sian Atkins. Picture: Courtesy of Sian AtkinsLiam Hills, from Brandon, pictured with family friend Sian Atkins. Picture: Courtesy of Sian Atkins

Experts opted to stop his treatment for a couple of months, meaning his hair grew back and he finally looked “happy and healthy” again.

Liam’s family and friends hoped he was in the clear, but doctors later discovered the cancer had spread to his lungs - signalling the start of yet another test.

“They couldn’t do a lung transplant because the liver operation was still fresh, so they decided to do radiotherapy but things just got worse,” added Miss Atkins.

Liam Hills, from Brandon, pictured with his sister, Chloe. Picture: Courtesy of Sian AtkinsLiam Hills, from Brandon, pictured with his sister, Chloe. Picture: Courtesy of Sian Atkins

“The cancer spread to his bone marrow and was sticking out of his hip. Eventually it went to his brain and he had to be resuscitated because of a bleed on the brain.

“The doctors tried their best. Liam was on so many drips and none of the pain relief was working. It was in his leg that he was getting awful pain.”

Following Liam’s death, the fundraiser launched to give him a proper send-off has received more than 200 donations.

Liam Hills, from Brandon, pictured with family friend Louise Atkins. Picture: Courtesy of Sian AtkinsLiam Hills, from Brandon, pictured with family friend Louise Atkins. Picture: Courtesy of Sian Atkins

It’s initial target of £1,000 has been shattered, and Miss Atkins said she had been overwhelmed by the widespread generosity.

“Liam was like a little brother to me. He was a very cheeky and mischievous lad, who loved dinosaurs and swimming,” she added.

“I have cried seeing the donations and reading the messages. It really is lovely.”


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