A PROUD mother from South Tyneside led a class action to boost a vital charity after being inspired by her ‘little miracle’ daughter’s remarkable recovery from brain and spinal conditions.
Helen McIntosh, from Alfred Street in Hebburn, was urged to consider an abortion after a 20-week scan discovered her child had hydrocephalus – caused when fluids don’t drain away from the brain – and spina bifida.
But Helen, 33 and husband Glenn, 34 sought specialist advise and were told that, while their child would have to have a number of operations, she did not have the most severe form of either condition.
Their daughter, Grace, is now a lively five-year-old, and Mrs McIntosh enlisted her staff and classmates at Bede Burn Primary School for a charity day yesterday.
Pupils came to school dressed in yellow, while a raffle and a cake sale were also held in aid of Shine, a national charity supporting families and leading research into both spina bifida and hydrocephalus.
Mrs McIntosh said: “Grace is just amazing. She’s a little miracle. We were told to think about termination at my 20-week scan, because she could have serious disabilities and have no quality of life. But we went with our gut feeling, and got a second opinion. We are so glad that we did.”
Grace had an operation to repair her spine within hours of being born and has also had a device – called a shunt – fitted to drain excess fluid from her brain.
If not fitted, the condition could lead to swelling and brain damage.
Despite a string of operations at a tender age, Grace is now making excellent progress.
She initially required physiotherapy every week, but now needs support only every six months.
She is able to walk unaided, though she does have the use of a buggy, as longer walks can prove difficult.
Mrs McIntosh was delighted the school, which Grace’s seven-year-old brother, Cameron, also attends, agreed to help out and raise awareness and cash for the cause.
For more information on Shine, visit shinecharity.org.uk.