‘Small eye’ baby girl moves town

A baby girl whose eyes are were not fully formed during pregnancy, leaving her disfigured and nearly blind, has sparked a community into action to help her.

Eight-month-old Ella Springhall was born with microphthalmia, otherwise known as ‘small eye’ – a genetic disorder that prevents the eye from developing normally. She is undergoing treatment to help correct the condition in one eye at London’s Moorefields and Great Ormond Street hospitals, while the condition of sight in the other is not yet known.

Her mum, Samantha, 19, of Leaves Spring in Stevenage, who has a milder form of the condition, said: “She was born with her eyes closed and at first they thought she had conjunctivitis, but when they cleaned them up they could see she had microphthalmia. I have it too but you wouldn’t tell to look at me. She has it worse.

“At the moment she’s got a plastic contact lens that’s stretching her eye lid open. I take it out at night and put it back in the morning.

“They can’t tell me how much she can see. In a couple of months we have got to go back. My family are in Stevenage and they’ve been a great help, but it is difficult.”

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On hearing about Ella’s condition, former Stevenage resident and actor Steve Weston decided to rally the town community to raise money to support her.

Steve said: “I know the mum’s dad and when I heard about it, it just moved me. The money goes towards supporting the transport costs down to London and specialist stuff that Ella will need that isn’t paid for.”

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He has set up a comedy night, disco, auction and prize raffle with donations from businesses, sporting personalities and clubs, at The Crooked Billet pub in Stevenage on Saturday February 18.

Steve added: “Maria Kempinska, founder of Jongleurs Comedy Club has supplied comedians for the night – the first time that a Jongleurs event has taken place in Stevenage. She has also provided tickets for any of her national comedy events. Joe Egan, Mike Tyson’s sparring partner has donated signed memorabilia, Shaktar Donetsk, the Ukrainian Champions League football team has sent over a signed shirt. Peter French has donated a signed Arsenal shirt and Clive Abrey of Stevenage FC has donated a signed football and shirt.”

Donations have also been made by Boots, ASDA, Tesco’s and others.

To donate prizes and to buy tickets for the night at �15, call The Crooked Billet on 01438 722558.

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