BUDDING SCI­EN­TIST, 12, FACES NEW HEALTH BAT­TLE

Daily Record - - NEWS -

IN PART­NER­SHIP WITH THE third birth­day. Gil­lian said: “It was the best birth­day present ever. “Abi­gail was the first child in the world to suc­cess­fully go from her con­di­tion to a Ber­lin Heart to a heart trans­plant. “When we got home, Abi­gail was front page news and there were news crews wait­ing out­side our door.” Abi­gail’s kid­neys were af­fected by the trans­plant and she be­came a re­nal pa­tient, de­vel­op­ing pneu­mo­nia in 2014, but the budding sci­en­tist was de­ter­mined to have a nor­mal child­hood. In 2015, she won a sil­ver medal for cy­cling and a sil­ver and two bronze for swim­ming at the Bri­tish Trans­plant Games. But in May last year, she be­gan to com­plain of headaches and pain in her jaw. Bone mar­row tests re­vealed she had Burkitt’s Lym­phoma – a rare and ag­gres­sive form of non-Hodgkin lym­phoma.

Gil­lian said: “She had been do­ing ab­so­lutely fan­tas­ti­cally and you would never have known she had a heart trans­plant. It came as a com­plete shock to us.

“When you have a heart trans­plant you take im­muno­sup­pres­sant drugs so your body doesn’t re­ject the or­gan. Her im­mune sys­tem is re­pressed so she is more sus­cep­ti­ble to de­vel­op­ing PTLD (post-trans­plant lym­pho­pro­lif­er­a­tive dis­or­der). By the time she was di­ag­nosed, Abi­gail’s had de­vel­oped into Burkitt’s Lym­phoma.”

Abi­gail had six rounds of chemo, which was deemed a suc­cess, but in De­cem­ber medics dis­cov­ered the can­cer had re­turned to her ab­domen.

She spent four-and-a-half months in hos­pi­tal ear­lier this year and medics are happy with how she has re­sponded.

Abi­gail, who has a lit­tle sis­ter, Lucy, still has to at­tend hos­pi­tal weekly but has had more time to do the things she en­joys – lis­ten­ing to El­lie Gould­ing and Lit­tle Mix, watch­ing Bake Off and Masterchef on TV and at­tend­ing sci­ence club at school.

But she is one of hun­dreds of chil­dren with can­cer still look­ing for their cure.

Abi­gail said: “Time in hos­pi­tal can re­ally drag. When you’re in the ward you eat, sleep and play in the play room and then just re­peat that ev­ery day.

“My friends don’t un­der­stand why I re­ally want to go back to school. I miss it and do­ing nor­mal things.”

To help the Schiehal­lion Ap­peal reach its £500,000, Abi­gail has de­signed the char­ity’s Christ­mas card this year.

The ap­peal aims to ex­pand Scot­land’s trial cen­tre at Glas­gow’s Royal Hos­pi­tal for Chil­dren, the only one of its kind in the coun­try, so that chil­dren do not have to leave the coun­try for treat­ment.

Gil­lian said: “We have ex­pe­ri­enced liv­ing away from home for Abi­gail’s treat­ment and know what it would mean to have new treat­ments avail­able for chil­dren at home.” To sup­port the Schiehal­lion Ap­peal, text CHILD to to do­nate £5 or call To buy Abi­gail’s card please visit www.Glas­gowChil­dren­sHospi­talChar­ity.org/shop

FUNDRAISER Christ­mas The char­ity de­signed card Abi­gail SIB­LING Abi­gail with her lit­tle sis­ter Lucy STILL SMILING Abi­gail Hall 8750 PIONEER Abi­gail, then three, with her mum and dad af­ter hav­ing heart surgery

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