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Young battler meets her hero

Yallingup teenager Deni Atkinson is thrilled after she met her idol Roger Federer at the recent Australian Open.

The last few years for Dunsborough's Deni Atkinson have been a whirlwind since she was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour in 2013 and later underwent proton therapy in the US in an attempt to stop the growth.

Not only did the therapy stop the growth of Deni's tumour, it reduced it by about a third, stunning the Atkinson family and providing relief for what was initially a very scary reality.

By her own account, things have "settled down" now for Deni, who is still getting used to the effects of the therapy more than a year after it was done, and is currently in her final year of high school.

She is also preparing to return to Memphis in April to take part in a research study.

"There's heaps of interesting testing," she said. "St Jude's do everything, all these scans and everything you can think of."

Before settling into school this year, however, Deni and her family were treated to a special trip, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Deni, dad Craig, mum Carmen and her two sisters were flown to Melbourne last month for the Australian Open where Deni was lucky enough to meet her idol Roger Federer.

"It was really awesome," she said. "Make-A-Wish just did such an amazing job."

"He'd just won his match. He had this very calm nature about him and he was asking lots of nice questions.

"It was so quick and it doesn't feel like it ever happened."

Make-A-Wish gave Deni and her family the trip of a lifetime, but the selfless 17-year-old said she was most excited her family, and especially her sisters, were also treated. "Because it has been about me for a while it was good that Make-A-Wish made it special for the girls too," she said.

Deni's April trip will take her away from her schooling at an important time, but the dedicated youngster, who wants to eventually work in the medical profession, said she was determined to make it work with a supportive school, and teachers, behind her.

"Because of the proton therapy, I get so tired at school," she said.

"Some days are fine. Other days I have to sleep at school.

"It's hard to find that balance but it's okay once you get into it."

The Atkinsons will also take part in this year's Ride to Conquer Cancer in October, with Deni stepping into the role of an ambassador for the project after taking part last year.

Despite the tough challenges, Deni said a lot of opportunities had opened up for her and she added she was positive about the future.