A LITTLE girl who battled a rare form of cancer is the inspiration behind a charity bike ride for a Stretford Mall store worker.

Chris Minshall will be hitting the road on September 7 to honour the bravery of his cousin’s daughter, Emilie Austin, who fought back from the brink of death after being diagnosed with a rare strain of the disease which resulted in her having a liver transplant.

The 28-year-old, who works as a sales associate at the 3 Store in Stretford Mall said doctors told the family to “say their goodbyes” to the toddler.

But now aged four, Emilie’s cancer is in remission and the bubbly youngster continues to go from strength to strength.

Chris explained: “Emilie had just returned from holiday with her parents when they noticed a lump on her side when she was aged two.

“She was all right in herself and wasn’t feeling sick or under the weather, but they took her to the doctors to get her checked out.

“Soon afterwards, they discovered that Emilie had a very rare form of cancer that affected her liver and had spread to other parts of her body.

“She spent months having treatment including a liver transplant and chemotherapy, but at one point it was touch and go and doctors told her parents to expect the worst and say their goodbyes as they weren’t sure whether Emilie would make it.

“She proved them wrong with her determination and although she still has to have regular tests and check-ups, her cancer is in remission.”

The father-of-one said her plight spurred him into taking on a 60 mile bike ride from Manchester to Blackpool as having a young son made her experience hit home.

“My little boy is around the same age as Emilie so I know it must’ve been a traumatic ordeal for her parents,” he said.

“She’s such an amazing little girl, and despite everything she’s been through, she’s a real chatterbox who is really girly and absolutely adores princesses."

* Anyone interested in sponsoring Chris should call into the 3 Store in Stretford Mall.