Appeal to help Stevenage girl, 16, walk again after surgery to remove tumour the size of a watermelon left her paralysed
PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 February 2018
An appeal has been launched to raise £10,000 to help a 16-year-old girl to walk again after surgery to remove a tumour the size of a watermelon left her paralysed.
Ellie Dean, who lives in Stevenage, was 14 when she was told she had a massive tumour inside her lung.
She said: “I felt like I was in a bad dream. It just didn’t feel real. My dad broke down and cried. It was so horrible to see, as I’d never seen him cry before.
“I then remember asking the doctor if I was going to die, and she replied bluntly, ‘I can’t tell you that’. After those words, nothing has been the same.”
Ellie had emergency surgery to remove part of the tumour that was compressing her spine at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
A few weeks later she had a major 11-hour operation to remove the whole tumour.
The tumour was successfully removed, but during the operation in October 2015 she suffered a rapid aortic bleed.
Ellie said: “I lost six litres of blood. The surgeons did an amazing job in saving my life, as I virtually bled to death on the operating table. I’m so grateful to the wonderful people who donate blood, because without them I wouldn’t be here today.”
Ellie spent eight days in an induced coma in intensive care, and when she woke was told she paralysed from the waist down.
Ellie said: “Nothing is the same, everything is a struggle. Simple tasks are now a huge effort. I’ve had to relearn how to sit up, be taught how to dress myself and learn how to roll over. It’s like being a baby again.
“A spinal cord injury affects every organ below the level of injury, including bladder and bowels. My muscles are wasting away, I suffer from pressure sores and am in a lot of pain.
“I always try to put on a brave face, but have lost all my confidence. People stare at me when I go out and that makes me want to lock myself away as I feel embarrassed.
“Most of the time I feel low, but I’ve met many people who’ve made a recovery from this injury. It is possible. It does, however, take time, a lot of hard work and determination, which I’m willing to put in.”
Ellie and her family want to raise £10,000 for intensive physiotherapy at a specialised centre in America. Ellie said: “It would give me the best chance of recovery. I hope you will support me.”
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ellie-dean