Billie was a very quiet, gentle young lady who strived to achieve so much despite suffering with osteosarcoma.Billie was diagnosed in 2007 at the age of 11, she was in her first year of senior school. She went through gruelling chemotherapy to try and cure her illness. When she lost her hair she would often get upset but after a while it seemed like losing her hair was not that important. She would prefer to show her bald head rather than wear a hat. Having no hair actually suited Billie who previously had a mass of thick long hair.
In March 2008 it was decided that Billie would need to have her right hip and leg amputated to try and cure her of this dreadful illness and to save her life. The operation was carried out by Mr Grimer at The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham. At the time, this was a huge struggle for Billie and if she had allowed it to, it could have destroyed her life. Billie was not the kind of person who would allow this to happen. Instead she did what she always did best and wore the biggest smile, despite the horrific pain she was suffering.
After months of rehabilitation and physiotherapy Billie went between a wheelchair and wearing a prosthetic leg (using crutches). Due to the amputation she had a huge, reinforced hip part which made it extremely hard to walk far as this took a great amount of effort. Despite all of this, Billie returned to school. Billie was truly a special young lady and I'm not being bias when I say this because I'm her father, her genuine warmth touched all the teachers, pupils and everyone else who came into contact with her.
After a routine MRI scan in December 2010, our world came crashing down again when we were told that the tumour had returned. Billie took this news with her usual spirit and her huge infectious smile.
She endured more chemotherapy and went through hair loss again but she remained strong and felt it was worth it, even second time around, if this would make her better again.
I couldn't believe this was happening to my daughter again who had suffered more than I could ever describe or tell you about. As Billie was preparing herself for another battle, I tried to remain optimistic. Deep down I knew this was possibly a battle she couldn't win and I felt incredibly guilty thinking this especially when Billie had such high hopes.
However Billie's battle and our worst fears became a reality when Billie was told that her cancer was terminal. She was totally devastated but again, she hid behind her infectious smile and thought only of other people.
I now wonder if this was her coping mechanism and I truly believe it was. Billie was definitely an inspiration to me and everyone who had the privilege to meet her.
Despite her grim diagnosis, Billie continued to live her life. She gained 5 GCSE's and accomplished her dream to attend her school prom in July 2011. She looked absolutely stunning and very grown up and she danced the night away in her wheelchair surrounded by teachers and friends. Billie never let anything or anyone get in her way of doing what she wanted to do and she knew how to party!
Billie's illness really started to take over and she started to look very frail but her zest for life never left her. Billie was awarded a 'West Midlands police award' for recognition of her courage and determination throughout her illness. Then, in December 2011, she was presented with an outstanding individual award as part of a new community awards scheme in south Birmingham.
However Billie's illness took a toll on her and after endless suffering and pain Billie lost her spark and that infectious smile and passed away on 19th March 2012.
It feels like half of me has died along with Billie and her loss has left her brothers and sisters heartbroken and a huge void in the lives of everyone who ever came into contact with her.
A true measure of the sort of person Billie was showed as she had planned her own funeral. Those attending wore her favourite colours pink and purple. Her vivacious personality and humour showed through the hymn 'Oh happy day' that she had chosen to be played in church. Best of all her favourite sweets 'strawberry laces' were given out to everyone... a poignant, final touch from our beautiful Billie.