Sunday, 29 May 2022

Dancer, 12, who woke up paralysed from the waist down diagnosed with incurable disorder

Abigail Toth, now 14, woke up in March 2020 unable to feel her legs after complaining about feeling ill throughout the night. Her parents initially thought she was “faking it” in the hope of “getting a day off school” but the family quickly realised she needed urgent care as she was unable to stand up. Upon arriving at the hospital, Abigail was taken into A&E where the family, from Chester, claim doctors initially thought she was faking it as well.

After trying to help her stand, doctors quickly realised something was extremely wrong as the 12-year-old fell to the ground. Within 24 hours, Abigail was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis, and the family were devastatingly told there was no cure.

The family are currently fundraising on GoFundMe to offer Abigail the chance to receive expert treatment abroad.

Aunt Zaneta Goodman, 43, said: “She woke up one morning and said mum, I can’t feel my legs.

“Her mum said don’t be so stupid, get up, but realised she couldn’t.”

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She added: “At the hospitals, nurses counted to three as they attempted to get her to stand up but her legs went to jelly and she fell to the floor. That’s when the nightmare started for us all.”

Abigail was kept on the children’s ward in Chester for a week where she was put on steroids to reduce the inflammation.

Doctors then transferred Abigail to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool to undergo intensive hydrotherapy.

Ms Goodman said: “They rushed to get a diagnosis because there was a risk the paralysis could travel upwards and the issue is it coming to the lungs and Abigail not being able to breathe.

“The panic died down when we realised it was travelling downwards after starting from her hips.”

Before her diagnosis, Abigail loved to dance and would be at a different dance class “every day of the week”.

Ms Goodman continued: “She did ballet, tap dance, jazz, street dance, and was always dancing around the house. She’s such a bright girl and it’s so unfair that something like this could happen to someone like her.”

Despite there being no cure for the disorder, there is a chance Abigail can regain feeling in her legs with physiotherapy.

Currently, Abigail is using a wheelchair and crutches to get around, and says the feeling in her legs “comes and goes”, with Ms Goodman adding: “She’s got to the point where she’s able to do all her major care for herself.

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“She has a one to one at school that helps her get around the building but as she still has no feeling in her legs, she’s having to drag her legs on crutches. The majority of the work comes from her tummy and torso muscles.

“The feeling has come back from the torso down to her knees but below the knees, it’s hit and miss still. Sometimes she doesn’t even know if she needs the toilet or not.”

Transverse Myelitis (TM) is a neurological disorder caused by inflammation of the spinal cord and the prognosis varies on the individual.

The family are currently fundraising for Abigail to attend a “state of the art rehab school” in Slovakia.

To find out more about the fundraiser and donate, click here.

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