Redbourn cheerlader's triumph over illness

PUBLISHED: 06:53 25 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:41 06 May 2010

THERE was a time when 13-year-old Hollie Burrows wondered if she would ever walk again, let alone become a cheerleader. The Roundwood Park pupil was born with a very rare condition called osteofibrous dysplasia which meant that she suffered from benign tu

THERE was a time when 13-year-old Hollie Burrows wondered if she would ever walk again, let alone become a cheerleader.

The Roundwood Park pupil was born with a very rare condition called osteofibrous dysplasia which meant that she suffered from benign tumours on one of her leg bones.

She has had seven major operations in which sections of her tibia needed to be removed and rebuilt and between the ages of six and seven she was confined to a wheelchair.

Since then Hollie's fighting spirit has shone through and she is now completely mobile but she has always struggled with sport - until now.

The teenager of Tassell Hall, Redbourn, has taken up the eight-week Livewire Cheerleading course at her school and couldn't be having more fun.

It's funded by the Herts Sports Partnership and delivered by Saracens Rugby Club, of which Hollie is a massive fan and she regularly goes to watch the team play.

Her proud mum, Fiona Burrows, said: "This has given her a new lease of life. By the end of the day Hollie has normally got a limp and is really tired and she will be in pain with her leg. But she is just loving the course so much that it's almost as if the pain doesn't exist when she is doing it."

Hollie, who has an older sister Sophie, has excelled on the cheerleading course and her team entered a competition at Marlborough School last week.

They sailed through to the finals after securing first place in their age category and will now compete on December 5 at Woodside Leisure Park in Garston before going on to perform their routines in front of the crowd at Vicarage Road stadium in Watford.

Fiona said: "I know everybody says this about their own child but she really has given me a completely and utterly different outlook on life with her drive and ambition. At one stage we never thought she would actually walk again, least of all take part in an active cheerleading course. We were told that she wouldn't be able to do this, that and the other - but Hollie does it, she has just got one of those natures. When people meet her they just think she is amazing."

Hollie is also a dedicated fundraiser and raised £600 for her school this year when she took part in the 10k walk. Every year she also completes the Buttercup Walk in aid of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore where she continues to be treated for her condition and always raises between £600 and £1,000.

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