Dr Charlie Teo’s ‘miracle girl’ Milli Lucas has been farewelled by hundreds of mourners wearing turquoise blue at a service at the home of her beloved Fremantle Football Club.
The Perth teen, who died from brain cancer last Monday four weeks after celebrating her 14th birthday, was remembered as ‘brave, talented and happy’.
Milli first made headlines when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour and flew to Sydney to be operated on by Dr Teo in June 2019.
Doctors had deemed it inoperable though Dr Teo managed to remove 98 per cent of the tumour and called her his ‘miracle girl’ but sadly her cancer returned last March.
Milli Lucas was farewelled in front of hundreds of mourners at Perth’s Optus Stadium on Thursday
Milli’s casket was driven to the stadium, flanked by her family and friends wearing turquoise blue
Milli’s family, including mother Monica Smirk, father Grant Lucas, sister Tessa and brother Joel with Sprite the family dog, at the service
Milli’s brother Joel were among those who spoke at the funeral service in Perth on Thursday
Milli (pictured) made headlines around Australia known as Dr Teo’s ‘miracle girl’
Milli flew to Sydney when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour to be operated on by Dr Teo (pictured together) in June 2019
Milli’s younger brother Joel and sister Tess were among the speakers at the service at Optus Stadium.
‘The thing I will miss the most is when she would say “Mate”,’ Joel said.
‘I’m pretty sure everyone will miss that.’
Tess said: ‘You are now in a better place, and no longer in pain’.
‘Knowing that makes it a little bit easier to start comprehending that you’re gone.’
Milli’s grandfather said despite her medical condition, she had strength to always be happy.
‘This little smiling girl, who was always happy – she knew her medical outcome three years ago, and yet she had the strength to be happy around everybody,’ he said.
Milli’s life was celebrated at Optus Stadium in Perth, which is the home of her beloved Fremantle Football Club
Mourners at Milli’s funeral service wore turquoise blue at the request of her family
Staff and players of Milli’s beloved Fremantle Dockers football team were among the mourners
Fremantle Dockers players including Nat Fyfe were among those in attendance at the service
Among the hundreds of mourners at the funeral service was the Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan
Milli turned 14 on December 5, which she spent watching movies and swimming with friends and enjoyed a rainbow cake.
Her parents admitted at the time ‘sadness is coming’.
‘I remember lying in bed with Grant when Milli was first diagnosed and said to him if we can get our girl to 14 then that would be an amazing feat,’ her mother wrote.
‘We should have been so ecstatic and happy that we got her here, but in the back of our minds we know the sadness that is coming.
‘So hard to be happy, for both of us we tried and made sure she had an awesome day.’
Milli achieved her lifelong dream of skydiving a few weeks later and ‘loved every minute’.
Before her first surgery with Dr Teo, Milli was wheeled in knowing she may not walk, talk or see ever again.
But against all odds, the brave young schoolgirl proved to be a fighter following the ‘hugely successful’ operation.
Milli’s story made headlines in 2019 after generous family, friends and strangers raised more than $170,000 to help pay for the life-saving operation.
Many doctors declined to perform the operation on Milli – who was told she had just 12 weeks to live – as the tumour was in a high risk ‘no go zone’ of the brain.
However, Dr Teo offered to do the procedure before she travelled to Germany to get rid of the remaining two per cent.
Milli incredibly returned to school just weeks after her surgery.
The schoolgirl’s rare condition put her at risk of developing various types of cancer, which has also affected her older sister Tess, her mother and cousin Beau.
Tess was also diagnosed with a brain tumour but she has since been given the all-clear, while their mum – who has a family history of cancer – underwent a double mastectomy after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016.
A TIMELINE OF MILLI’S JOURNEY
January 2016: Milli, who has extremely rare Li-Fraumeni syndrome, is diagnosed with an aggressive and malignant brain tumour.
January 2016 – April 2019: The 12-year-old undergoes years of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy treatments to try and shrink the tumour.
April 2019: Doctors in Perth tell the Lucas Smirk family that her treatments are only getting larger and they can’t perform surgery on the brain stem because it is too risky. They put her into palliative care.
May 2019: The family were told she has just ‘weeks left to live’, Milli’s family start a GoFundMe page to raise $170,000 and visit renowned neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo in Sydney.
June 2019: Dr Teo removes 98 per cent of the tumour and Milli is awake 24 hours later.
July 2019: Milli spends four weeks in Germany attempting to remove the remaining two per cent of tissue.
August 2019: Milli and her sister Tess return to school as they await news about the tumour.
March 2020: Scans find a cancerous tumour has returned to Milli’s brain. She gets a puppy named Sprite to help her through the next part of her cancer journey.
April 2020: Milli was told she may not talk, walk and see again but she defied the odds after a gruelling eight-hour brain tumour surgery by Dr Teo.
October 2020: Milli returns home to Perth to be with her family
December 2020: Milli celebrated her 14th birthday watching movies and swimming with friends as her parents admit ‘sadness is coming’
January 2021: Milli dies aged just 14