Scarlett will be five years old in August, however she has been on quite a life-threatening journey to get to where she is today. Scarlett was two when her family learned something was wrong. She was rushed to hospital and quarantined for a whole month and treated for a condition that to this day has still to be named.
Scarlett has an undiagnosed immune system problem, which makes her more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections. This uncertainty about her condition left her parents experiencing a mix of emotions. Matt, her father, said it left him feeling “annoyed, frustrated and most of all worried. Its one of those conditions that if it looks like a dog and barks like a dog then it’s a dog”.
Scarlett’s illness occurs rarely in adults, and extremely rarely in teenagers, and as Matt says, “it just doesn’t happen to kids her age.” This made little Scarlett an unfortunate anomaly. In June 2014, Scarlett was so ill she was in an intensive care unit (ICU) for eight weeks. Her health deteriorated to a point where she woke up unable to speak, walk, or even move. This left Scarlett with no choice but to relearn how to live again. A challenge that no human, let alone a toddler, should ever have to go through.
As things were understandably very difficult for Scarlett’s family at the time, community nurses referred them to Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity to help them get back on their feet. This happened when Scarlett was first released from the hospital. Scarlett’s family were then paired with Linda, a North West Rainbow Trust Family Support Worker. Linda spent much time with Katie, Scarlett’s mother, providing emotional support and giving her respite when needed.
Rainbow Trust’s support helped relieve Scarlett’s family of pressure, so that they could continue with their lives at a time when things weren’t feeling so normal.
Matt said that Linda’s support was their saving grace and stepped in for him so that he could return to work and provide for his family. “Linda stepped in when I had to be at work, she helped massively when Scarlett first came out of hospital and had to do treatment”. Scarlett had to go through treatments of chemotherapy on her road to recovery. Over the next year she had countless visits to the hospital, as her condition was incredibly unstable.
Matt then went on to say,
“Knowing someone is there to help you through horrible situations, and to play with Scar, you can’t put a price on it, but it does have a price. When you’re coming out of hospital dealing with something like this, there’s a hole. You really don’t know who fills it. Rainbow Trust fills part of it.”
Scarlett’s family were also offered sibling support as little Scarlett has two older sisters Cara who’s ten and Lucy who is seven. Matt said this helped give his other daughters some escapism. “It gives siblings the chance to be a bit more normal again. So they can forget about the other things that are going on at the time.”
As of today, Scarlett is showing signs of amazing recovery. Although she is still undiagnosed, her condition is being managed with medication. “I would rather be able to treat something I don’t know, than know what it is and not be able to treat it,” said Matt. Scarlett has just started school and is now living the life of a normal youngster.