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Chester's little hero Erin Cross spending seventh birthday at home after six-week hospital stay

She's now making improvements after a tough few weeks

Chester's Erin Cross will celebrate her seventh birthday tomorrow (Wednesday) with a quiet family celebration at home in Upton, after a tumultuous few weeks in hospital.

No little girl should have to endure what Erin has in the past five years, but you'd never know from looking at her smiling face that she has been through aggressive chemotherapy, radiation, a lifesaving bone marrow transplant and constant treatment in hospital.

It has been a long and difficult road to this birthday for Erin and her parents Sarah and Antony, which began when the then two-year-old Erin was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

She went through chemotherapy and a three year battle, and the family was elated when Erin was given the all clear in 2015.

Erin Cross in hospital in Seattle

But heartbreakingly, they were told in March last year that 95% of Erin's bone marrow contained leukaemia cells, and this time chemotherapy would not be enough – her only hope of survival would be a bone marrow transplant, for which she would need to be in remission for.

The only way of achieving this was to undergo Car T cell therapy immediately – but the treatment, which Erin needed to have within eight weeks, was only available in the USA, and it cost more than £100,000.

A desperate public appeal followed and the whole of Chester rallied together to raise the money, with huge donations coming in from all over the world.

The public's astonishing generosity meant that Erin's £150,000 target was smashed in just a couple of days, and the Cross family were just about to fly to Seattle to start treatment when Erin suffered a life-threatening stroke which left her parents fearing the worst.

Erin Cross meets Ant and Dec at backstage Britain's Got Talent(Image: Ant Cross)

Miraculously, she recovered and underwent the treatment in July and Erin was told she was in remission two months later. Back home in Chester, the search began for a suitable bone marrow donor to give her a chance of survival.

That came from an anonymous young woman and the transplant was done just before Christmas last year.

Since then, Erin's recovery has been up and down and she has spent a great deal of time at Manchester Children's Hospital in the aftermath of the lifesaving operation.

Today though, things are going well and Erin is at home in Chester from spending six weeks in hospital just in time to celebrate her special day with her family.

Erin Cross is all smiles on her transplant day on Thursday, December 29

"We've just got back home after another six week stay in hospital – Erin was having donor cell top ups since April just to get her donor cells back up to 100%," explains Sarah.

"After the third top up she started with 'graft verses host disease' which happens when the donor cells attack her healthy cells and this made her really poorly for a few weeks but finally the treatment kicked in and she started improving.

"She has extracorporeal photopheresis treatment twice a week which is helping her with her symptoms. This treatment uses UV light to calm down the effects of the donor cells," she added.

"It's great and she is finally getting some of her energy back, we are really looking forward to celebrating her birthday at home tomorrow."

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