The “miracle girl” who survived brain cancer against the odds has flown home on a mercy flight to spend time with her family following her latest surgery.
Perth schoolgirl Amelia “Milli” Lucas, was first diagnosed with a very aggressive brain tumour, a Grade VI Glioblastoma, in 2016, and underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
In May 2019, the cancer again reared its head, but this time it had grown dangerously into her brain stem, causing many doctors to refuse to operate.
But Milli refused to give up, raising $170,000 for surgery with Sydney neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo, and captured the heart of Australia with her bravery.
While Dr Teo successfully removed 98 per cent of the tumour – the other 2 per cent was removed by doctors in Germany – Milli’s cancer came back again in April and she returned to Prince of Wales Private Hospital with her dad Grant for further treatment.
Now the 13-year-old, who has surpassed her initial terminal diagnosis by years, has been stretchered home on a mercy flight with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).
The teenager arrived at Jandakot Airport just before 8pm on Monday, The West reports after an anonymous donor paid for the private 10-hour round flight.
She’s since been reunited with mum Monica Smirk and other family members at Perth Children’s Hospital.
“After undergoing surgery in Sydney, Milli was flown home by the Royal Flying Doctor Service, arriving in Perth on Monday evening,” the family told the publication in a statement.
An RFDS spokesperson said Milli’s mum Monica cried on Friday when she was told the flight to bring her daughter home was happening, adding the family were “ecstatic”.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, getting Milli home required health authorities in WA and NSW working together.
On Monday, a specialist doctor and nurse flew to Sydney, returning alongside Milli that night.
Last week the family had revealed they were looking for a way to get Milli home.
“Please keep Milli in your thoughts, prayers and wishes as we look for a way to get our incredible girl home to be with her family – your positive energy has been felt across the country but it is time to come home to WA,” the teen’s father Grant wrote on social media.
“Milli went back to surgery to release pressure. She remains in ICU and has another operation scheduled,” it read.
In 2016, a brain tumour was also discovered in Milli’s older sister.
The family have since discovered they tested positive to Li-Fraumeni syndrome – a genetic condition which gives them a much higher likelihood of acquiring a wide range of cancers.
Milli’s grandmother, uncle and cousin have succumbed to the disease.
Milli’s mum Monica also had to undergo a bilateral mastectomy and hysterectomy for her own cancer.