Brave little Lilly MacGlashan, whose battle against cancer has touched the hearts of everyone in Dunstable and beyond, will be celebrating Christmas at home with her family this year.
Five-year-old Lilly was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was six weeks old and has spent her life fighting the rare type of cancer.
Her parents, John, 50, and Dawn, 45, had to raise more than £1million for pioneering treatment unavailable on the NHS. She travelled to America with her family in 2011 to undergo treatment and since then she has been going from strength to strength.
The family are now looking forward to spending Christmas together at their Pipers Croft, Dunstable, home.
Mrs MacGlashan said: “We are really looking forward to Christmas as this is the first year where Lilly has had no treatment.
“She is doing really well. She is a proper little girl and she loves school and playing with her sister Molly. They are really close.
“She has been involved with school Christmas plays and all the festivities. It’s great to see her enjoying it and getting involved with everything that’s going on.
“It will be nice this year because the girls are at an age where they understand more about Christmas and know about Santa.”
Lilly has had all the treatment she needs now, but will be on a growth hormone to help her grow until she is 16.
The MacGlashans have also been celebrating Lilly’s recent award at the Houghton Regis and Dunstable Community and Business Awards.
She was given a bravery award to recognise everything that she has been through and overcome.
Lilly did not attend the awards ceremony but her mum and dad did and they were both so proud that she won.
Mrs MacGlashan said: “It was a proud moment, really emotional. It is lovely that people have realised what she has been through,. They have always supported her.
“We want to thank everyone who has always been there for our daughter and for recognising what she has been through. We could not have done it without the help of our family, friends and the most amazing community.
“When I came home with the award and showed her, she did not realise what it was for and why she had won it.
“She does not understand what she has been through and what the award was for, but Molly does and she was proud and happy that Lilly had won.”
The twin sisters celebrated their fifth birthday at the weekend, with a party at Woodside Animal Farm.
Mrs MacGlashan said: “It is a very busy time of year for us, but it is nice to see them both get really excited.”
At the Memorial Sloan-Kettering cancer centre in New York medics injected Lilly’s brain with a drug called 8H9 which “teaches” cancer cells to kill themselves. She has been in remission for the past two years.
Neuroblastoma affects 100 children a year in the UK and now the latest development of the treatment, a vaccine, is set to be trialled here.
It is being paid for by the Neuroblastoma Children’s Cancer Alliance which with the help of Lilly’s parents has raised the necessary £300,000.