Sunderland schoolgirl thanks paediatric infectious diseases team following incredible recovery

A grateful mum’s fundraising event following her daughter’s incredible recovery from a brain infection has resulted in a £2,000 donation to the Paediatric Infectious Diseases fund at the Great North Children’s Hospital (GNCH).

In May 2016, Marnie Purnell from Moorside in Sunderland was rushed to Newcastle’s GNCH. A sinus infection had spread to her brain and surgeons spent over ten hours operating to stop the infection from spreading. Marnie, who was eleven at the time, then faced the tough challenge of learning to both walk and talk again after the infection left her temporarily paralysed.

Marnie Purnell and Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Dr Marieke Emonts-le-Clercq

Determined to attend her first day of secondary school Marnie went on to make an incredible recovery. After working with physio and rehab teams for around 4-5 weeks, she was able to attend the first day of term at St Anthony’s Catholic Academy.

Marnie’s mum, Corley Purnell said: “It’s was a very tough time, our lives were turned upside down but it’s incredible to see how well Marnie has recovered, she was so determined and we’re just really thankful to everyone here who helped her to get better, they’re all amazing”

To say thank you for the care her daughter received at the GNCH, Corley arranged a fundraising evening at the former Virgin Active gym in Doxford Park which raised £2,000 for the Paediatric Infectious Diseases Fund which supports research into Infectious Diseases in children.

Now feeling much better, Marnie recently returned to the GNCH alongside her mum to thank one of the consultants who helped her get better. Presenting the cheque to Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Dr Marieke Emonts-le-Clercq, Marnie said:

“It was frustrating learning how to walk and talk again but the consultants, nurses, physios and rehab team have all been fantastic. They said they’d never seen such a bad infection but thanks to them I’m back to school and feeling a lot better!”

If you would like to support the Paediatric Infectious Diseases Fund through a fundraising activity, please contact our the Trust’s Charitable Funds office on 0191 213 7235 or email Charity.Matters@nuth.nhs.uk where help and advice will be provided, along with sponsorship forms if needed.  If you wish to make a donation to the Fund to aid our research in this important area and further develop our local expertise, please make cheques payable to ‘Newcastle Hospitals NHS Charity’ and write ‘Paediatric Infectious Diseases Fund’ on the reverse. Cheques can be sent to the Charitable Funds Office, Peacock Hall, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP.

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