Morecambe Carnival King and Queen’s secret battle

Picture by Julian Brown 01/05/16

Morecambe Carnival Parade

Carnival King and Queen Jacob Sykes (10) and Millie Potter-Thomas (8)
Picture by Julian Brown 01/05/16 Morecambe Carnival Parade Carnival King and Queen Jacob Sykes (10) and Millie Potter-Thomas (8)

The parents of the Morecambe Carnival Queen have spoken of their pride as she takes the crown a year on from battling a rare infection which could have left her paralysed.

Little Millie Potter-Thomas was all smiles when she was awarded carnival royalty at the weekend.

She is just an amazing little girl and I couldn’t be prouder

Andy Thomas

The eight-year-old led the carnival parade on Sunday as her family proudly stood watching nearby. But just a year before Millie was rushed to hospital after collapsing in front of her dad, Andy Thomas.

It has not been plain sailing either for carnival king, Jacob Sykes, who shared the royalty glory.

The Heysham 10-year-old suffers with eczema, asthma and various allergies. After losing two members of his family Jacob also began suffering with anxiety but despite this he has fundraised hundreds for Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Millie was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord which can result in injury, affecting sensation and can even lead to disability.

What started off as pins and needles in her hands and feet last May, led to the loss of sensation in her lower body. Gradually Millie lost the ability to walk and became bedbound for nearly two months at Royal Manchester Hospital.

During her 11-week hospital stay Millie received hydrotherapy treatment and slowly managed to walk again.

Andy Thomas said it is “amazing” to see his daughter walking again after one of the “worst nights of his life.”

He said: “She just collapsed in front of me, it was horrendous. The doctors didn’t know whether she was going to be paralysed for life. Only 200 people in the country have got this disease.”

Millie came home on July 10 and it was a bittersweet day for the family. Andy said: “I got a call from work saying Millie was coming home but on the same day my dad, Pete Thomas, passed away, so it was very emotional.”

Millie still has pain in her legs and was told the infection could flare up again within two years. But now she acts as an “inspiration” to all.

Andy said: “She is just an amazing little girl and I couldn’t be prouder.”