What a difference a year makes - Marcus Dunn, eight, enjoys Christmas with his family 12 months after cancer diagnosis

Marcus Dunn, 7, from Wicklewood.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Marcus Dunn, 7, from Wicklewood.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Last December, Marcus Dunn's life hung in the balance.

Marcus Dunn, 7, of Wicklewood, recovering from acute leukaemia, getting ready to go back to school f

Marcus Dunn, 7, of Wicklewood, recovering from acute leukaemia, getting ready to go back to school for a few hours, pictured with his mum Barbara. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

His heartbroken family sat by his hospital bedside, told by doctors to say their goodbyes, as, in a coma, he battled against the high risk acute lymphoblastic leukaemia he had been diagnosed with days earlier.

And when doctors were able to finally bring him round, Marcus, who is now eight, spent Christmas Day in hospital totally blind, the disease having robbed him of his sight.

But one year on, the remarkable little boy has defied doctors' expectations, undergoing gruelling treatment to bring the aggressive cancer under control.

And this year, Marcus, who now has partial sight in one eye, was able to celebrate a normal family Christmas with mum Barbara, dad David and brothers Toby, 13, and Ollie, 10, at their Wicklewood home, a milestone they feared they would not see.

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Mr and Mrs Dunn said: 'This Christmas has been emotional for us as a family as we never thought Marcus would make it this far. Last Christmas holds very painful memories as his life was held in the balance and we spent it in Great Ormond Street Hospital, where we remained in hospital until March.'

They said the effects of the disease had been 'life changing', but described Marcus as 'a little warrior'.

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'His cancer is under control at the moment although he requires daily chemotherapy and weekly blood tests and will do until April 2018,' they said. 'Unfortunately, the effects of his leukaemia have been life changing and he has been left blind in one eye and visually impaired in the other, with no 3D vision.'

But Marcus has made such incredible progress that in April he started to rejoin his classmates, and started year three at Robert Kett Primary School in September.

Mrs Dunn said: 'The school have been so supportive to him, even learning how to manage the nasal gastric tube he had at the time to feed him.

'They have made many adjustments around the school to make it safe for him as a visually impaired child to maintain a normal school day.'

She said the school had also supported older brother Ollie, helping the family cope with the 'huge emotional strain'.

Marcus' school friends and teachers even raised more than £400 for the Children with Cancer and Leukaemia Group with a Christmas jumper day in December.

The children enjoyed carols, Christmas games and parties to raise the cash.

Robert Kett headteacher Alison Clarke said: 'Marcus is a joy to have in school and we know that what we have done today to raise funds will be of great help to those children and families like Marcus.'

Do you know someone who has made an inspirational recovery that we should be writing about? Let us know by emailing lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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