Doctors said turn off ill girl’s life support but she’s now celebrating her 21st

today24 August 2022

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A Derbyshire woman is set to mark her 21st birthday, a milestone doctors said she’d never reach after she was diagnosed with a stage 4 brain tumour at the age of just 10. Medical professionals at one point gave her hours to live and even asked her parents if they could turn off her life support machine.

But Chloe Parkes, from Brimington in Chesterfield, didn’t give up and, despite numerous treatments, including twice being given the highest dose possible of chemotherapy, she is now setting her sights on the modelling career she always dreamed of.

Nic Cox, Chloe’s step-mum., said: “When doctors are asking you if you want to turn machines off because the prognosis on paper doesn’t look great, you know it’s not looking good. She ended up in a coma after one of the operations, which meant that she learn to walk and talk again because she had a bleed on the brain.”

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Following her diagnosis in June 2012, Chloe spent a year having numerous operations and treatments to try and beat cancer. “She endured several operations to put shunts in to drain the fluid from her brain, then had chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and other extensive treatment for a year before she was finally given the all clear.” Mrs Cox added.

For Chloe’s family, despite how bleak the outlook was, they never gave up and remained as positive as possible throughout, even bringing her out of her coma hours after doctors had told them she wouldn’t survive, by turning up the music in her room and dancing.

Chloe tying in her hospital bed after beginning her recovery from a coma during her treatment for cancer
Chloe went from a 10-year-old dreaming of a modelling career to be in a coma with doctors believing she wouldn’t survive

Waking up from the coma for Chloe and being cancer-free was only the start of another journey she had to go on, one that would include learning to walk, talk and even sit up. Mrs Cox, 31, explained that it became obvious very quickly that Chloe hadn’t made a full recovery: “When she woke up there were quite obvious signs that there was some damage there.

“She staged another couple of weeks in intensive care and then she went onto the cancer ward of the children’s hospital.” Chloe’s remarkable recovery has led some of the doctors at the hospital to describe her as “a little miracle”.

Mrs Cox said: “She’s never followed any rule book so how she presented as being poorly wasn’t normal, how Chloe went about things wasn’t the normal typical way, she does not follow the rule book.” It was an attitude Chloe had prior to her treatment, not caring for the opinions of other people, doing her own thing and being very active.

Prior to her cancer diagnosis, Chloe had been on a number of photoshoots as part of her ambition to be a model
Prior to her cancer diagnosis, Chloe had been on a number of photoshoots as part of her ambition to be a model

Chloe is now planning to celebrate her 21st birthday at the Casa Hotel in Chesterfield by hosting a Masquerade Charity Ball to raise money for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. She still has dreams of being a model and has been doing some wig modelling in recent months, however, Mrs Cos says her step-daughter still has challenges in her life: “She’s partially sighted, she’s got a balance problem from when she had the bleed on the brain, she doesn’t balance on her own, she has thyroid problems but still pretty remarkable.”

Despite all the treatment and the current challenges Chloe faces, Mrs Cox says they still see glimpses of the old Chloe and even aspects new to her step-daughter: “We see a new Chloe, she is very funny, she has a very dry sense of humour. She’s spent a lot of her younger years surrounded by adults so she has a very adult sense of humour which is strange because you look at her and she looks around 13 and so sometimes you have to double take and think ‘oh yeah she’s actually 21 this year’.”

Chloe’s birthday Masquerade Charity Ball will be held on Sunday, October 9 from 4pm to late. For more information and for tickets you can email

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