The first steps of any child is a special moment, but when one-year-old Harriett Platt managed hers over Christmas it was a ‘milestone that was never expected’.
Brave Harriett was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder – severe combined immunodeficiency – last February when she was just seven-months-old.
The months that followed saw her undergo two bone marrow transplants and two courses of chemotherapy and have been described as ‘hell’ by her devastated parents Helen Mylott and Chris Platt, who are from Acton Bridge.
The Chronicle featured the family’s desperate appeal to find a bone marrow donor for Harriett last year, but the first transplant using a donated umbilical cord proved unsuccessful when the T cells started to attack her and she developed a condition in her liver, gut, skin and lungs called severe acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).
Doctors told Helen and Chris their baby girl would die if they didn’t try to retransplant.
Happily, the second transplant using Chris as a donor with the T cells which cause GVHD taken out worked.
“Since then she has been amazing,” said Helen.
“It’s still showing signs of inflammation but no liver transplant is required.
“She’s got 100% donor cells this time and has just started to make her own cells which is fantastic, and early.
“Hopefully in a few months she’ll be allowed to play with other children.”
Helen and Chris have praised the team at the Great North Children’s Hospital, to whom she says they will ‘forever be in debt’.
Harriett is now home and doing well, with her taking her first tentative few steps unaided a fitting Christmas present following a rollercoaster year.
Helen explained: “Seeing Harriett walk unaided before 18 months was a moment I’ll treasure forever. She’s met a milestone that was never expected.
“She’s spent nearly 12 months in hospital and been very poorly at times, yet she’s still doing most things that other children of her age do.
“We’re so, so proud of our amazing little hero.”
Plans for a fundraiser ball in aid of The Bubble Foundation UK, which looked after Harriett, are well under way.
The black tie dinner dance will be held at Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel and Spa on September 30.
For ticket enquiries and sponsorship opportunities, call Claudia on 07738058656.