THE family of a Stourport child who suffered from a life-threatening brain-swelling condition are raising money for the hospital which treated her.
Grace Marshall spent her sixth birthday lying unresponsive in the Intensive Care Unit at Birmingham Children’s Hospital after suffering from encephalitis.
The virus, which has a 20 per cent fatality rate, causes swelling to the brain, leaving a person with a headache, drowsiness and can lead to seizures or hallucinations.
Grace’s parents, Lisa and Cliff Marshall, first noticed she was unwell when she was suffering from headaches and also stopped speaking.
They took Grace to Worcestershire Royal Hospital when she started having seizures, where she was taken into resus for nine hours as she was not stable enough to move.
As Grace’s condition deteriorated she was transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where she was diagnosed with the virus and placed on a life support machine.
Mrs Marshall said: “I cannot describe the feelings we felt. We were desperate for the doctors to tell us she would survive but they said they couldn't promise us.”
After a few days of test and procedures, Grace started to move her right side, which was previously paralysed.
Her parents were still concerned however, as they had not heard Grace speak for a number of weeks, until her three-year-old brother, Charlie, came to visit her.
“We couldn’t believe our ears when she blurted out his name,” Mrs Marshall said. “It was definitely a moment I will always remember.
“The doctors couldn’t believe her progress and that not only was she alive but escaped brain damage.
“The care that not only Grace received but what we received as a family from the hospital was nothing short of amazing.”
Mr and Mrs Marshall now want to “give back” to the hospital by holding their own fundraising event as well as taking part in another.
The couple will be holding a free fun day at Areley Kings Village Hall on Sunday, September 7, between 11am and 4pm.
The day will feature Fullshore - a live band, bouncy castle, tombola, J’s Top Rocking Hip-Hop dancers, an animal lady and a barbeque.
Stalls will be selling various fundraising items as well as a raffle which has prizes donated by local companies and organisations.
They will also be lacing up their running shoes alongside Lisa’s sister Sarah Barswell and brother-in-law Ashley Barswell as they take part in a 13-mile run in Birmingham on October 14.
Mrs Marshall said: “It’s our turn to give a bit back to the hospital. We can’t give anything in comparison for them saving Grace’s life but we can all raise money for children and families who may need these services in the future.
“I’m really grateful for everybody’s help in organising the fun day, especially Danielle Salsbury ,who has played a big part in organising with me.
“We know that what Grace went through can happen to anyone, so we are hoping that people will give anything, no matter how small, and help raise money for other people that may live this nightmare.”