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Home   Medway   News   Article

Chatham tot Amelia Harrington battling rare brain tumour

10 January 2014
by Rachael Woods

At just seven months old, Amelia is battling for her life after being diagnosed with a rare brain tumour almost unheard of in babies.

It meant achieving the milestone this week was extra special and Zoe, 22, of Chalk Pit Hill, Chatham, said she was overjoyed to see it.

Baby Amelia Harrington who has been diagnosed with a rare brain tumour

Baby Amelia Harrington who has been diagnosed with a rare brain tumour

Little fighter Amelia has already endured three operations on her brain and has to undergo chemotherapy sessions every two weeks at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

Her condition, ependymoma, develops from ependymal cells that line the fluid-filled spaces in the brain, but the cause is unknown.

Despite Amelia’s heartbreaking illness, her family including dad Jamie Calow and big sister Izabelle , five, are staying strong.

"She is such an angelic baby" - mum Zoe Harrington

Zoe said: “It was a massive shock to learn of Amelia’s condition and when everything started unravelling it was unbelievable. But somehow you just manage and take each day as it comes.”

Zoe and Jamie maintained a constant vigil at King’s College Hospital while surgeons battled over the course of 25 hours to remove the tumour.

Amelia’s treatment means she is losing the baby hair that was just starting to grow.

“Amelia’s hair is still fluffy and it comes out when she sleeps in her cot where she rubs her head,” said Zoe.

“She is such an angelic baby, with big blue eyes and long lashes.

“The nurses all make such a fuss of her and she just beams at them. She has a beautiful smile.”

Baby Amelia has inspired a fundraising appeal

Amelia’s aunt, Clare Harrington, 29, is leading a fundraising campaign in support of her niece.

She said: “It has been shock after shock for the family as each test Amelia had revealed more bad news.”

Problems were first suspected when Amelia was in the womb as a scan at Medway Maritime detected fluid around the brain, although Zoe was told not to worry.

After Amelia’s birth at home, Zoe continued to suspect that all was not well because of the shape of her baby’s head so she took Amelia Medway Maritime A&E.

Her head was found to be enlarged at 52cm in circumference, and she was rushed to King’s College Hospital where a cyst and tumour the size of a cricket ball was discovered.

The brain operations have left her with restricted eye sight and movement and Zoe said it is almost unheard of for a baby to born with the condition, which affects around 450 people each year in the UK.


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