Emma Hoolin one year on ...

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IN this week’s Wigan Observer - on sale now - you can read our emotional interview with little Emma Hoolin’s mum, Jill, who talks openly about her daughter’s progress exactly a year after the Observer launched its appeal for life-saving treatment.

Twelve months ago the then four-year-old from Whitley was in desperate straits. She had undergone every conventional treatment for a potentially deadly stomach tumor called a high-risk neuroblastoma.

Months of gruelling chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery and stem cell replacement had left the youngster very weak. And while the treatment and long hospital stays had kept the illness at bay, there were great fears that the cancer would soon return to incurable effect.

The only chance was to raise more than £200,000 so that Emma could go to America for pioneering immune system-boosting treatment. And this had to be done within a terrifyingly short 100 days of her having the stem cell therapy - the best timeframe for medical success.

It looked a forlorn task, but the people of Wigan rose to the challenge magnificently with a catalogue of money-spinning ventures of unprecedented scale and number. And the target was, incredibly, reached with more than a month to spare.