Appeal to help Stevenage's Ellie, 18, walk again after life-saving surgery left her paralysed
PUBLISHED: 16:44 09 May 2019
The family of a teenager paralysed from the waist down following an operation to remove a tumour from her lung are fundraising for vital treatment which could help her walk again.
Ellie Dean, who lives in Stevenage, was 14 when she was told she had a tumour the size of a small watermelon inside her lung.
The whole tumour was successfully removed during an 11-hour operation in October 2015, but during the operation she suffered a rapid aortic bleed and lost six litres of blood.
Ellie spent eight days in an induced coma in intensive care, and when she woke up she was told she was paralysed from the waist down due to a loss of blood supply to her spinal cord.
Ellie's auntie, Jolene Jones, said: "The impact it has had on Ellie has been heartbreaking to see. Simple tasks to everyone else, such as getting in and out of a car or getting dressed, are not simple for Ellie.
"With a spinal cord injury it affects every organ below the level of injury, including bladder and bowel.
"Ellie puts a smile on for everyone she's around, but deep in her eyes you can see how she really feels.
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"Ellie is a talented, smart, beautiful, now 18-year-old, with a love for art and she really is an inspiration.
"She just wants to live a normal teenage life and have use of her legs again."
In February last year an appeal by her family raised more than £13,000 to pay for Ellie to have intensive physiotherapy at NeuroFit360 - a specialised rehabilitation centre in America.
Now her family are raising more funds to pay for further treatment, which could see Ellie walk by the time she is 21.
Ellie's auntie, Jolene Jones, said: "Ellie has been to America, where they see so much potential in her to possibly walk again. She needs to return there because the help in the UK is not the greatest.
"If Ellie continues to attend for a period longer than four weeks at a time she will progress so much more and potentially walk by 21. How amazing would that be?"
Jolene says family and friends will be taking on a series of challenges this year to help raise the money needed, including Tough Mudder in September.
To donate to the cause, visit Ellie's Crowdfunding page at gofundme.com/ellie-dean039s-fundraising-page.