Despite injections and daily care, little Brooke loves school

PUBLISHED: 09:09 26 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:09 26 May 2019

Justine Sprawling with daughter Brooke, 11, who has a rare condition called ataxia telangiectasia. Picture: STUART ANDERSON

Justine Sprawling with daughter Brooke, 11, who has a rare condition called ataxia telangiectasia. Picture: STUART ANDERSON


Despite living with a rare and complex genetic condition that necessitates a walking frame, regular injections and daily therapy, 11-year-old Brooke Sprawling is in many ways, a regular, happy girl who loves school.

"I like English," she said. "But I hate maths."

Brooke, from Swanton Morley, was diagnosed with ataxia telangiectasia (A-T), a disorder that causes the immune system to break down, making the body susceptible to diseases.

Her mum, Justine, sand she believed there was only one other person with A-T in Norfolk, and around 200 in the whole country.

Mrs Sprawling said: "They have got a low immune system, she's on antibiotics full time and requires regular injections of immunoglobulin into her stomach.

"During the week she wears leg splints because her legs are quite stiff - it's similar to cerebral palsy."

Brooke was diagnosed with A-T when she was two-and-a-half, although it was not easy to find a doctor who could correctly identify her condition. And it was made more difficult because Brooke's dad, Stefan, was serving in Afghanistan at the time with the RAF Regiment.

She said: "I knew something wasn't right - why is she not doing this? Why can't she do that?

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"Is she just slow and will she catch up with the other children?

"I needed to know what was wrong with her."

There is no cure for A-T, but Mrs Sprawling hopes the condition can be diagnosed sooner - hopefully even at birth - to help the families that will be affected.

Brooke started at Sheringham Woodfields - a special-needs school - in September, and swimming and arts and crafts have become two of her favourite activities.

Mrs Sprawling said: "She loves school and they can help her in a lot of ways that we couldn't - she gets hydrotherapy, rebound therapy and can take part in PE."

"It's really important to keep the muscles strong and moving."

Mrs Sprawling is organising a family fun day at Swanton Morley Village Hall tomorrow (Monday, May 27) from 11am to 2pm.

There will be stalls, cake and drinks, activities for children and a performance by the JDT Music Academy rock choir.

Proceeds will go to the A-T Society, which supports people living with the condition.

MORE: Brave Swanton Morley youngster features in charity calendar

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