IT was the day she feared her daughter might never live to see.
Having watched on helplessly as her 16-year-old fought for her life, not once but twice in just two months, Leeanne Hamerton was terrified that she was going to lose her little girl.
But to the amazement of her doctors and her mum, brave Alicia Stevens battled through and made it to her school prom – just eight weeks after coming out of intensive care.
Struck down by suspected appendicitis on her 16th birthday, Alicia was told by doctors that she was lucky to be alive when they operated to find it had already burst, leaving her in hospital for nine days.
As she recovered back at home, struggling to eat or walk, she found herself back in hospital just a few weeks later, after suffering a burst cyst on her ovaries.
Fortunately that just required an overnight stay, but a month later she was once again fighting for her life, this time in intensive care after medics found two abscesses – a consequence of the burst appendix in February – that had ravaged her lungs, liver and kidneys.
Doctors also diagnosed her with pneumonia, which left her mum fearing the worst.
They inserted a drain to get rid of the cyst.
When the teenager woke up in intensive care her first words to her mum were “I’m going to fail my exams,” knowing she was just weeks away from sitting her GCSEs.
After ten days in hospital she finally returned to her Swaythling home, with the drain still attached, where thanks to her teacher Wendy Francis, she was able to prepare for a few exams.
Within just two weeks the determined Woodlands Community College pupil was sitting her first GCSE and just 24 hours after her drain taken out under anaesthetic she was taking a history exam at home.
The next target was her prom and, having been forced to miss out on her 16th birthday celebrations, Leeanne was adamant that her daughter would get to go – no matter what it took.
With help from Ms Francis and a day dress shopping, with her drain still attached, Alicia was thrilled to make it to her prom with her school friends.
Proud Leeanne said: “I nearly lost her twice this year and there were times that I really didn’t think I would get to see that day.
“She had been robbed of her 16th birthday so I wasn’t going to let her miss out on her prom.
“It was such an emotional day to see her there in her dress, looking so beautiful having seen just how bad she had got. It has been a horrendous year and now we are just hoping that the abscesses don’t return.”
Alicia, who hopes to pass her photography exam to get into Southampton City College, said: “There were times that I was really scared in hospital and thought I would never make it to prom.
“So it was a dream come true to go to. It was amazing and I didn’t even think about the past few months, I just danced and had a good laugh with my friends.”