‘Miracle’ Milli, 12, who was given just weeks to live four months ago is already back at school with her sister after Dr Charlie Teo’s pioneering brain surgery destroyed 98% of her killer tumour
- Milli Lucas is back at school after being treated for a brain tumour in Germany
- The 12-year-old from Perth was told she only had weeks to live in early 2019
- But ‘miracle worker’ Dr Charlie Teo was able to remove 98% of the tumour in June
- He then sent her overseas to try and remove the remaining amount
- Milli’s father Grant shared his thanks at having all his children for Father’s Day
A miracle girl who was given just weeks to live earlier this year is already back at school after receiving pioneering brain surgery from Dr Charlie Teo.
Amelia ‘Milli’ Lucas was told in May that she would die from a brain tumour, before Dr Teo took on her case and wiped out 98 per cent of the growth on her brain stem.
Dr Charlie Teo’s Foundation shared an update on the 12-year-old, who suffers from the extremely rare Li-Fraumeni syndrome, saying that her story is one of ‘hope and incredible bravery’.
‘Milli Lucas has battled with terminal brain cancer for the last three years. Only a few months ago she wasn’t responding to treatments and only had weeks to live but Milli and her family were not ready to give up,’ they wrote about the girl from Perth.
Milli’s father Grant snaps a photo of his 12-year-old daughter doing her homework after returning to school in August
What type of cancer does Milli Lucas have?
Milli has a rare genetic condition called Li-Fraumeni syndrome that predisposes carriers to a lifetime risk of a wide variety of cancers.
The disease has already plagued most of the Lucas Smirk family, including Milli’s 15-year-old sister Tess, her mother and her young cousin Beau.
Wearing a ‘Wish for Milli’ scarf the family made, Dr Teo successfully removed 98 per cent of her malignant tumour in June, despite it being attached to her brain stem.
He then referred her for ‘alternative treatments’ in Germany to stave off the remaining cancer.
‘Milli has recently returned [from Germany], is doing well and now back at school with her 15-year-old sister Tess,’ they said.
She has also started back at her local music school, with singing one of her favourite pastimes before she was diagnosed with cancer.
Miracle girl Amelia Lucas (pictured with Dr Teo) has returned home to Australia and started school again after undergoing an alternative treatment plan in Germany
‘Milli has recently returned [from Germany], is doing well and now back at school with her 15-year-old sister Tess (right),’ they said
Amelia ‘Milli’ Lucas’ (middle) and her parents (left mother Monika and right father Grant) celebrated Father’s Day together on Sunday
The teenager’s father Grant Lucas, 49, shared his heartwarming vote of thanks to Dr Teo on Facebook, saying if they had listened to critics about his work he might have lost his daughter.
‘Thank you Charlie Teo, if we had of listened to doctors in Western Australia it may not of been possible to have my three beautiful kids on Father’s Day,’ he said on Sunday.
After landing in Bochum, Germany, in last June Milli went through four weeks of treatment involving daily doses of chemotherapy and hypothermia, which sees doctors raise the temperature of the tumour.
A TIMELINE OF MILLI LUCAS’ CANCER JOURNEY:
January 2016: Milli, who has extremely rare Li-Fraumeni syndrome, is diagnosed with a brain tumour.
January 2016 – April 2019: The 12-year-old undergoes years of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy treatments to try and shrink the tumour.
April 2019: Doctors in Perth tell the Lucas Smirk family that her treatments are only getting larger and they can’t perform surgery on the brain stem because it is too risky. They put her into palliative care.
May 2019: Told she has just ‘weeks left to live’, Milli’s family start a GoFundMe page to raise $160,000 and visit renowned neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo in Sydney.
June 2019: Dr Teo removes 98 per cent of the tumour and Milli is awake 24 hours later.
July 2019: Milli spends four weeks in Germany attempting to remove the remaining two per cent of tissue.
The risky surgery carried out by the Sydney-based neurosurgeon was a tremendous success and saw her walking three days later (pictured is her brain tumour)
After landing back in Perth in July the family are now waiting for a further brain scan to tell them whether the tumour has shrunk any further.
Only then will they know if Milli has a chance of a full recovery.
Milli made headlines in May this year after her parents Grant and Monika Smirk, 47, were forced to crowdfund over $160,000 to afford the operation with Dr Teo at a private hospital in Sydney.
Chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy were no longer working on her tumour and doctors in Perth refused to operate out of fear the invasive procedure could lead to paralysis or even death.
After hearing about her story, Dr Teo – who is known for tacking terminal brain cancer cases – said he would perform the ‘difficult’ procedure.
But the risky surgery carried out by the Sydney-based neurosurgeon was a tremendous success and saw her walking three days later.
Dr Teo said Milli’s operation involved navigating the brain stem – ‘the no-go zone’ – where most doctors won’t touch.
Milli’s risky operation involved dealing with a part of the brain few surgeons are willing to tackle for fear of doing permanent damage
Charlie Teo’s 12-year-old cancer patient up and walking in hospital less than 48 hours after a lifesaving operation, which critics said would kill her or leave her paralysed
But with chemotherapy and radiation no longer working, there was no other choice.
‘They know the risks, they know it’s not curative and could reduce her quality of life, but they just aren’t ready to give up. It’s a brave decision,’ Dr Teo said in June.
Tragically, Milli’s mother Monika, 47, learned her breast cancer had returned days after her daughter’s successful surgery.
Dr Teo described the operation as one of the ‘more difficult’ ones he’s done throughout his career (Milli recovering after the operation)
The GoFundMe page that saw their family journey catapult into the spotlight is still open and has seen 2,700 people donate $170,000 in three months
The 47-year-old lives with the same rare gene disposition as Milli and is one of less than 1,000 people in the world with the illness.
The mother-of-three went through a double mastectomy and hysterectomy three years ago to try and prevent it from returning.
‘I can see it, it’s not grown so it can wait, but it’ll have to come off eventually,’ Ms Smirk said of the lump to the West Australian.
In addition to Milli’s debilitating condition, her sister Tess was also diagnosed with a brain tumour but has since been given the all-clear.
The GoFundMe page that saw their family’s journey catapult into the spotlight is still open and has seen 2,700 people donate $170,000 in three months.