Brave mum's climbing challenge to raise money for charity

After seeing her three-year-old daughter battling a brain tumour, a brave Louth mum is planning a climbing challenge to raise money for those who have helped her.
Lily, with dad Josh and mum Emily in Germany in between hospital visits.Lily, with dad Josh and mum Emily in Germany in between hospital visits.
Lily, with dad Josh and mum Emily in Germany in between hospital visits.

Little Lily Harley was diagnosed in January with Grade 3 Ependymoma – a type of brain tumour – in January this year after her parents, Emily Morton and Josh Harley, noticed that her balance was off and she was tilting her head to one side.

An initial CT scan at Grimsby Hospital came back clear, but then on January 11, she became really ill and wouldn’t wake up, so they took her back to Grimsby Hospital where an MRI scan revealed a brain tumour, and she would need to be taken by ambulance to Sheffield Children’s Hospital – immediately.

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"It was surreal,” Emily said, “It was one of those things that you never think will happen to you – we just thought she had an ear infection which was affecting her balance.”

Lily Harley, 3, undergoing chemotherapy.Lily Harley, 3, undergoing chemotherapy.
Lily Harley, 3, undergoing chemotherapy.

Lily had her first 10-hour surgery to remove 80 percent of her tumour shortly after, but she lost a lot of blood during the operation and caught an infection, so they had to wait until the infection had cleared before having the second operation, which removed the remainder of the tumour.

Lily has also had to undergo proton beam therapy in Germany, where they stayed for two months while she underwent the treatment under general anaesthetic five days a week.

"We tried to make it as fun as possible for her,” Emily said, “When we weren’t in hospital we managed to take her to the zoo and on the train, she thought it was one big holiday!”

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Since then, Lily has been undergoing chemotherapy at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, and her treatment is due to end at the end of August, and while the doctors are optimistic about her prognosis, there is a chance the tumour will return.

Due to her operations, Lily also lost the ability to swallow, speak, sit up, crawl, stand, or walk, and she has had to be fed via a tube in her nose.

Luckily, after months of intense physiotherapy and speech and language therapy, she has finally regained her ability to do all of these things, and Emily said she has been incredibly brave:

"She’s taken it all really well, even when she has her chemo, she thinks it’s a big sleepover and she understands she has to take her medicine to make her better – she’s just taken it all in her stride.”

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On top of raising awareness of Lily’s condition, Emily and her friend Ruby Frankish are now climbing Mount Snowdon on August 20, with Ruby also climbing Scalfell Pike and Ben Nevis as part of the Three Peaks Challenge, to raise money for her and Young Lives VS Cancer.

Emily said: “We really want to challenge ourselves, compared to what Lily has been through it’s not the same, but we wanted to do something, she’s been through so much.”

To make a donation to Emily and Ruby’s climbing challenge, visit their JustGiving page at