A mum has spoken of her astonishment after her baby was given the all clear from Down's Syndrome and leukaemia after she had been diagnosed at birth. She says doctors are baffled by her baby's miraculous recovery.
Helen Kavanagh gave birth to twin daughters, Clara and Pippa, on August 7 last year. Both were said to have leukaemia and Down's. Tragically, little Pippa did not survive.
Clara, who weighed just 1.14kg, was moved to a neo-natal intensive care unit after testing positive for leukemia and also the trisomy 21 chromosome which is associated with Down's Syndrome
The twins' mum, who is from County Meath in Ireland, told the Belfast Telegraph that medics at Dublin's Rotunda hospital said they didn't expect the tiny baby to pull through.
"They weren't giving her much hope and didn't expect her to survive and were taking it hour by hour," Ms Kavanagh said. "They compiled consultants to look at her case as it was so unique."
Just two days after her birth, Clara was given drugs to attack the leukaemia cells. After they were administered, she gradually began to gain weight and was strong enough to endure other procedures, including an operation to repair a hole in her heart, and laser eye surgery.
Genetic tests were carried out in November and February to assess the leukaemia and Down's Syndrome.
Ms Kavanagh said astounded doctors phoned her with the news that the leukaemia had gone.
"It proved totally transient," the relieved mum said. "It had left her body but normally the baby would be left with Down's Syndrome. But that gene left her body as well."
She said the case was so unusual that geneticists are now investigating.
"They are trying to figure out how she got the Down's Syndrome and the leukaemia and now she doesn't have it," Ms Kavanagh said.
After spending 91 days in the ICU, Clara was allowed to go home, where she has since gained 20 pounds and is 'meeting all her milestones'.
"She is doing really well and we are really lucky," her proud mum said. "She is perfect and happy."
Clara's family are backing the Irish Premature Babies motorbike road challenge later this week to raise money for equipment for neo-natal intensive-care units.
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