Sunday, 17 Jan 2021

‘Healthy’ girl, 10, can only communicate with her eyes after collapsing at home

A "fit and healthy" 10-year-old girl can now only communicate through her eyes after suddenly collapsing at home.

Abigail Johnston's parents Shaun Johnston and Becky Doherty told of their devastation after she was rushed to hospital on September 20.

Doctors said she had suffered a bleed on the brain and further tests revealed she had a very aggressive and terminal tumour.

Her dad Shaun, of Norris Green, Merseyside, told the Liverpool Echo: "This has been devastating to us all.

"Abbi was generally fit and well and enjoyed the summer, our holidays in August and had returned to school.

"We weren't aware of any issues and there were no signs of anything wrong. It was totally unexpected.

"She just felt unwell that morning but was OK and shortly before it happened she gave me a cheesy smile from the couch, watching tv with her sister Jasmin."

Doctors feared Abbi could have only hours to live when she arrived at Alder Hey Children's Hospital.

She has been left with a form of locked in syndrome, meaning she is fully aware of her surroundings but is unable to talk or move.

Her parents said their daughter, who requires 24 hour care, communicates by using her right eye, moving up for yes and down for no.

But they said their daughter's personality still shines through.

Shaun added: "The tumour was virtually undetectable and so aggressive.

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"In Abbi's case it is untreatable as it's so advanced, but after almost two weeks in intensive care, and the the feeling that she might only survive hours maybe days, it's now been seven long weeks since she woke up.

"We are are treating every day as a blessing and cherished the time we have had with her we never thought we'd get.

"Although Abbi is now very limited, she is fully aware and can at least communicate with her eyes and her personality still shines through when she laughs or just ignores us."

Shaun, 44, said the family were looking at the possibility of hiring a wheelchair accessible vehicle to give them the opportunity to go out with Abbi when they can do this again.

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The family are hopeful they can bring Abbi home to spend Christmas with mum Becky and sister Jasmin.

Shaun added: "The support and generosity of our family, friends and colleagues has been amazing and overwhelming.

"We'd also like to say a huge thanks to the whole team from doctors to reception for all their work and support not only for Abigail but also for myself, Becky and Jasmin.

"Alder Hey and Claire House are supporting us in every way possible, starting with Abbi's 10th birthday at the beginning of November, helping us get home for a few hours in the past week with Abbi and working on plans for some Christmas ideas."

A crowdfunding page has been set up to help Shaun and Becky make the most of the time they have left with Abbi.

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