Life-saving treatment for Becky at Christmas

Thirteen-year-old Becky has an inflammatory disorder, which causes her immune system to attack her joints. She spent the 2015 festive period at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) where she received life-saving treatment.

Becky was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) at GOSH aged four.

Following years of managing her condition and a period of remission, she became ill again with macrophage activation syndrome, which affects the immune system and is a rare and potentially fatal complication of JIA.

GOSH at Christmas 

Just days before Christmas Becky was admitted to her local hospital for tests. On New Year's Eve Becky’s condition deteriorated and she was rushed into GOSH in the Children’s Acute Transfer Service (CATS) ambulance. 

"We arrived on the intensive care ward and it was all guns blazing,” remembers mum, Alison. “She was crashing and everything was going bonkers.

“It was New Year’s Eve and there were Christmas decorations up everywhere. Everyone else is focusing on their Christmas, and we’re in this bizarre and strange situation.”

Becky remembers the ambulance arriving to rush her to GOSH. She says: “I was finding it very difficult to breathe and I was very scared.

“However, the doctors and nurses were all so kind, they kept me calm and explained to me that they needed to sedate me and put me on a ventilator while they treated me.”

After a week Becky was stable enough to move to a normal ward where she was able to start playing. “I remember a lovely nurse Mary,” says mum Alison. “Who was bringing things from home for Becky, DVDs from her own collection to distract her. It was really people going the extra mile, it was just a happy place."

Becky patient

Life-saving treatment

Becky spent the next month gradually recovering. At first, she was not even able to sit up without help and couldn’t feed or dress herself. 

The GOSH doctors finally settled on what they call their drug of last resort – Anakinra. She has to have painful daily injections of this into her thigh.

“GOSH is an amazing place,” says Becky. “My mum was able to stay with me all the time, which really helped me and I got to meet other children with similar illnesses to me.

“Even though there are lots of really sick children being treated there, it is a cheerful place filled with friendly people. They really care about how you are feeling and try to make you happy as well as helping you get better,” Becky says.

“The amazing doctors and nurses at GOSH saved my life and the research they do there helped to develop the drugs that will help me to get better. 10 years ago these drugs weren’t available and without them I would still be really sick. I am really grateful to everyone for helping to raise money for the hospital.”

Fundraising for the hospital

According to her mum, Becky has become a keen fundraiser for GOSH.  “The idea for fundraising came after a chat I had with one of the nurses at the hospital, “says Alison.

”Becky had been feeling a bit sorry for herself and the nurse suggested that it might help Becky if she try and take control of something for herself, like fundraising or campaigning.

Brilliant Accommodation

Becky’s parents were able to spend Christmas close to her because of the family accommodation funded by GOSH Charity.

“The patient hotel is such an incredible facility to be able to stay at”, says Alison. “Becky was so sick, we didn’t want to have to come away.

“When you have a child in intensive care you can sit by the bed but you can’t sleep there so it’s fantastic to be just across the road in parent accommodation.”

There’s something really special about Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Despite now needing daily injections, regular blood tests and hospital check-ups to manage her condition, thankfully Becky is doing much better.

“She has been so determined to get well and we are so grateful to GOSH, without whom she might not still be here.

“There’s something really special about Great Ormond Street Hospital,” says Alison. “it’s unlike any other hospital we’ve been to.”

Support GOSH this Christmas

With your support, we can help the families of seriously ill children, like Becky, be together this Christmas.

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