Parents joy as Letchworth girl starts school after overcoming life-threatening illness following premature birth

Megan on the school steps

Megan on the school steps - Credit: Archant

A five-year-old girl who developed life-threatening bronchiolitis after she was born prematurely has attended her first day at school.

Megan in hospital

Megan in hospital - Credit: Archant

Megan Onbashi from Letchworth had a difficult start to life when the infection – which caused the airways leading to her lungs to become inflamed and fill with mucus – struck when she was two weeks old.

Struggling to breathe and very tiny, Megan was admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London for specialist care where doctors put her on a ventilator in the neonatal intensive care unit to help her breathe.

She steadily improved and a short time later, Megan’s parents, Deborah and Tek, were able to take their little girl home with the impression that she was getting better.

Unfortunately, a month later, the virus returned.

Megan was rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where she spent five days in intensive care on a ventilator. Despite her serious condition, with close monitoring and treatment and her family by her side, Megan pulled through and was able to be transferred to the children’s ward at the hospital for a further five days.

Almost five years on, Deborah and Tek were both nervous and excited to see their daughter start school at Hillshott Infant School on Ridge Avenue in Letchworth last week.

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Deborah said: “Watching her as a tiny baby struggling to breathe in intensive care was incredibly scary. It was touch and go for a while, so when we look back over everything she’s been through, it’s very emotional to see her starting school.

“Despite her difficult start, she’s making good progress and is a bright, happy little girl. It’s exciting to know that she’ll be taking this next step and although we worry like any other parents, we know our little fighter will be fine. I can’t believe how time has flown by!”

While Megan was being treated at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, her family were able to stay just minutes from her side in The Sick Children’s Trust’s Acorn House. Deborah is now an ambassador for the charity and champions its mission to provide emotional and practical to support for families with seriously ill children in hospital.