A Moorlands girl, who has “defied the odds” after her mum was told that her daughter may not live long as a baby, has reached her 15th birthday. Hollie Tomkinson was born six weeks early and was diagnosed with a rare form of meningitis at a very young age. However, despite having numerous medical issues, Hollie celebrated her 15th birthday on Wednesday, November 18 with her mum Karen Mace at their home in Cheadle.
A Moorlands girl, who has “defied the odds” after her mum was told that her daughter may not live long as a baby, has reached her 15th birthday.
Hollie Tomkinson was born six weeks early and was diagnosed with a rare form of meningitis at a very young age. However, despite having numerous medical issues, Hollie celebrated her 15th birthday on Wednesday, November 18 with her mum Karen Mace at their home in Cheadle.
Hollie is quite well-known within the community of Cheadle and had the honour of switching on the Christmas lights for the town last year.
Here, her mum Karen tells Hollie’s story:
Hollie was born on November 18, 2005, six weeks early via an emergency section.
She had wanted to come out at 24 weeks when my waters went and I ended up in hospital from that date until she was born.
Hollie came home ten days after being born but then the 11th night she became very poorly, and was later diagnosed with a rare form of meningitis.
We were told a few times, that there was no hope for her and to consider turning the life support off which we didn’t as I knew she was a fighter.
We had her baptised and that night Hollie defied the odds and began breathing herself.
Hollie and I then ended up in Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham for nearly two years – I only came home twice in that time.
Whilst there, Hollie contracted the same meningitis again at three months old (we thought she had for a third time in 2010). It will never go as it lies dormant in her head apparently.
She’s had over 40 operations for different things in her short life; and Hollie’s been left with only 35 per cent of her brain but as she was so young the 35 per cent took over some parts of the damaged brain.
Hollie has been left with cerebral palsy, she can’t talk, right side weakness, epilepsy hydrocephalus which she has a rare type of shunt in her head which drains the fluid from her brain.
She has feeding issues so is fed two times a day and one time at night via a Miki button in her tummy which special feed goes through.
She also has bowel issues, suffers kidney infections every four to six weeks as her kidneys are damaged and has permanent kidney stones. She also can’t walk and so uses a wheelchair.
There’s more but we would be here all day.
Hollie is life limited but she’s a fighter and is doing well and beaten all the odds. They always said she’d never sit up, walk, talk, feed herself, etc.
However, in the past four years she’s now learned to walk a little and is doing so good she loves to walk. But still is in a wheelchair.
Currently her health is good and hasn’t been admitted to hospital for 18 months now which is so amazing.
I’ve no idea how she does all she does do. She is a remarkable girl. I don’t think I could go through what she’s been through all her life. But she just keeps going with a cheeky smile on her face and a high five to people she knows.
A few days before lockdown in March and after three years battling to get a special personalised communication device and after Hollie undergoing tests etc, we finally got one.
Hollie knew how to use it as her teachers had been working so hard teaching her to use it.
It’s made such a difference to us, so much. I’ve noticed less aggressive behaviour from Hollie and she’s not so frustrated now as she can communicate via the device and tell me things like she’s hungry, or if she has a pain in her tummy or her head.
To communicate using the device, Hollie presses different pictures to make a sentence.
The first thing she said via the pad was “Mama” “Love you.”
That’s all I’ve ever wanted Hollie to say to me and I was an emotional wreck, as was my mother when Hollie told her nanny (Heather) “Love you” “Nanny and Dombey” (Dombey is nanny’s dog).
The day we had the device I posted a few videos on Facebook and the amount of people who saw and liked it was amazing and it made so many people very emotional.
Hollie’s amazing with it but just needs to concentrate and slow down a bit.
Hollie attends Meadows Special School in Leek and loves it there. She turns 15 today (Wednesday, November 18). I can not believe she is 15 after all we were told and after all she’s been through in her life.
Hopefully she will keep fighting and carry on being strong. Soon, with all her consultants and professionals etc, we will be planning her future, where she might be able to live in assisted housing and go to college etc.
It is scary, the thought of it but I’m wanting her to be a strong independent young woman which I know she will be.
Lockdown has been very hard with it only being me and Hollie stuck in four walls. For the first lockdown we had to stay isolated for three months due to her health issues as she’s vulnerable.
Luckily my mum helped with shopping etc and I had a couple of very good friends who helped me out a lot as well and still do today. I’d be lost without them.
I’ve struggled physically and mentally all these months. Again it’s been so hard as we lost what bit of help we use to have, such as respite, where she goes away for two nights now and again.
But I do thank those who have supported us. Lyn, Ian and Amy Rigby have been such good friends and such wonderful support to me and Hollie since March. I’d be lost without them. They are such an amazing family.
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