AN inspirational teenager undergoing treatment for cancer has astonised friends and family by defying her condition so she can help others.
Alice Barfield, 13, was diagnosed with the bone cancer osteosarcoma a year ago and has since undergone gruelling treatment including chemotherapy and an operation to replace a bone in her leg with a titanium prosthesis.
The teenager, from Helperby, who spent much of the last year in hospital, said one of the best things to have happened to her in the last year was to be taken to Lapland by the charity When You Wish Upon a Star.
She was so determined to raise money so another unwell child could go on the trip, she walked nearly three miles across the Humber Bridge as part of a sponsored fundraising event. She stunned onlookers by refusing to use her wheelchair for the walk.
Alice, who has only walked short distances since her operation, said: “I really, really wanted to do it. I wanted to feel good about myself and to help someone else.
“Lapland was so much fun. It was lovely and meant you could forget about everything going on.
“Having chemotherapy was difficult because I was so active. I love netball and dance and you can feel quite negative sometimes. It was good to feel I could do this.”
Alice, who is still having immunotherapy, walked across the bridge on foot accompanied by her mum and dad, Jessica and Mike, and 15-year-old brother Jake.
The Boroughbridge High School pupil briefly got into her wheelchair on the way back before deciding she wanted to walk again. Her efforts have raised £500 – the amount needed to fly a child on the trip to Lapland.
Her mum said: “She didn’t know how far she would be able to go but she really really wanted to walk the bridge. All the way over she did not sit in her wheelchair.
“On the way back she went in the chair for 300 metres before walking again.
“I couldn’t believe it. It was just fantastic to see. It made her so happy she could do it.”
She added: “She is incredibly determined. It was hard for her to have this happen and for her to have to being so still when she was used to be so active. It’s been very tough for her.
“Going to Lapland gave her something to really look forward to. It made her happy at a time when she had not been happy for a while. Alice has got stronger and stronger and has been really determined to get on her feet.
“She wanted to raise some money to give something back and she thought she would like to raise enough money so another child could go and be as happy as she is.”