FOR any parent, watching their children go back to school for a new term is a proud moment.

But for Rebecca Dodd it marks a milestone — it is a year since her daughter Katie, aged five, was diagnosed with a cancer that left her paralysed.

And now little Katie has been able to join her big brother, Joseph, and go back to Highfield Primary School, Farnworth, to start the new term.

Her proud mum said: “It was just nice to take her and Joseph to school together because for the past year I’ve been looking forward to September to get some normality back.”

The Farnworth youngster’s ordeal started last September when she woke up and could not move her legs.

Doctors discovered a tumour pressing on Katie’s spinal chord and told her parents, Rebecca and Lee, that she would need the most advanced form of radiotherapy — Proton Beam Therapy.

Since then, Katie has completed 14 cycles of chemotherapy and travelled to America for the special therapy, which is not yet available in the UK.

Despite the aggressive treatment, Katie is gradually building the strength back up in her legs in a bid to learn to walk again.

Mrs Dodd said: “I took her to school the other day and she just couldn’t wait to go and play with her friends.

“She’s been doing really well over the summer. Her hair and eye-lashes are even starting to grow back. She looked at me the other day and said, ‘Mummy, I look normal now’.

“She’s full of energy and not as fatigued any more. It’s like she’s a new girl.”

Katie is now in Year One and Joseph, aged nine, is in Year Five.

When Katie is not at school, she will be working hard with physiotherapists and a dietician to build her strength and mobility back up.

She also has a frame to help her stand up and learn to walk again. Mrs Dodd, of Seathwaite Road, added: “She’s brilliant about it all and every day she tries to do something new for us, whether it’s sitting a different way or moving from one object to another.

“She loves to show off.”

Now Katie has had all of her treatment to beat the tumour, she will have to have chest X-rays and MRI scans of her spine every four months to check for cancer cells.

For more information about the Katie Dodd Appeal, visit visit