Published: 06:00, 08 March 2021
Little more than eight months ago, schoolboy Ellis Dockerty was in hospital with heart failure.
The 13-year-old, from Broadstairs, had caught Covid and that, combined with the intense chemotherapy he was on for bone cancer, had damaged his heart considerably.
But the Dane Court Grammar pupil, who amazed medics by walking just two days after having part of his leg bone replaced, has now recovered and is set to take on a 25km trek in aid of CLIC Sargent, which supported his family during his battle with cancer.
Ellis was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in December 2019, starting chemo the following month and two months later had 20cm of his femur, knee and tibia replaced with a bendable titanium prosthesis.
Despite being expected to be in a wheelchair for some time, he stood up within 24 hours, was walking on day two, going up stairs on day three and home on day four.
"I was determined to not let cancer take anything else away from me, so I worked hard to get back to walking and moving around with no support," said Ellis.
"I didn't want to rely on crutches or a wheelchair - I wanted to be me again."
Then, in July, he tested positive for Covid, was rushed to Great Ormond Street intensive care unit and suffered heart failure.
But brave Ellis, determined to fight like his mum Gemma Huckstep, who beat thyroid cancer, recovered and had his last round of chemo in August, ringing the bell in Regent's Park in London to signal the end of his treatment.
"I was determined to have it all over by my birthday at the end of August and I did it," he said.
He says through it all, he and his mum were supported by "amazing" charity CLIC Sargent.
"We were allocated a lovely social worker called Becky," he said.
"She helped me get lots of surprise gifts, which cheered me up during my horrible chemo weeks.
"She also helped my mum organise a limo to pick us up after ringing the bell, which took us all the way home.
"My mum is on a Facebook group for parents with children with cancer, which is also run by the charity and I know this has been helpful to her.
"Last September, she did a skydive to raise money for them too and she raised £2,000 and I desperately want to beat her."
So in September, Ellis, with members of his family, will take on the 25km walk in London, past 16 bridges to raise money.
"When we travelled up to London each week for chemotherapy, we used to drive past a few of the bridges and even drove past them in the limo on the last day, so they have become a huge part of my journey," he said.
"I can't wait to walk past them all knowing it is all over and knowing I can help an amazing charity support other families going through what I did."
Ellis is currently walking four miles every Saturday and will increase this in preparation for the challenge ahead.
To donate to his fundraiser click here.